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Lesson 8

Sticky Seniors

 Have student and adult tables for this lesson.  Church announcements, upcoming events, and prayer. Starting Up From a Student (reflecting on graduating from high school and entering college): “I wish there was more of a transition.” The Big Questions: “How do we help our children build a sticky bridge out of the home? How can we prepare our kids—especially those getting close to high school graduation—for all they’ll encounter when ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ fades?” Sticky Findings 1. Most kids do not feel prepared for college. Only one in seven graduating seniors feels “very prepared” for what college brings their way. And the study shows that feeling prepared matters. The more students feel prepared for what they would face in college, the more likely their faith is to grow. 2. The first two weeks of college set the trajectory. “Over and over, students have told us that the first two weeks at college are when they make key decisions about drinking and other high-risk behaviors, right along with choosing whether to go to church or to a campus ministry. Most kids are unprepared for the intensity of those first days and weeks and have no strategy for how to make decisions during that critical time.”

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3. Finding and connecting to a church is difficult. Fewer than 40 percent of students feel prepared to find a new church. 4. Managing daily life is a major challenge. “Daily life management” is overwhelming for most students, leaving no time or energy to think about faith. “Facing the sudden instability of their new environment, schedule, and virtually limitless boundaries, operating from day to day becomes a practice of sheer survival.” From a Student: “It’s hard to find time to think about religion or God, and college feels more like living from one day to the next and losing focus on bigpicture things.” 5. Contact with parents helps kids. “In our study, contact with parents—whether by phone, email, or text—is related to practical and emotional adjustment in college.” Advice from College Students: When the study asked college students what they would share with a group of high school seniors about going to college, their answers clustered into the following categories, listed in order of importance: 1. Find a faith community at college and get connected. 2. Engage with your faith, including emerging questions and doubts. 3. Be prepared to be challenged. 4. Practice personal spiritual disciplines. Building a Sticky Bridge Chapter 7 has some excellent suggestions and wisdom for parents specifically so I encourage you to read it. However, for this class, I want us to focus more on what we can do as a church family to help our seniors make the big transition. Table Talk: (Based on your own thoughts and what we’ve encountered in this lesson so far . . .) As a church, what do you think we are doing well to prepare students for life after graduation? How can we do better?

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The Big Suggestion: Talk about life after high school, formally and informally.  Go through the list of things we should be talking about with our students to prepare them for life after high school on pp. 162-63, elaborating on a few as you go.  Have a series just for juniors and seniors. See p. 167-68 and mention Teen Curriculum. Closing Out Share some of the “Letters from College” on pp. 171-72.

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