Making Room at the Table for Others
In other words: how do I encourage my high schooler to be a friend to those who appear on the fringes, not finding a core group of friends?
Written by Lori Reeves, CVCHS College & Guidance Counselor
The opportunity to attend Central Valley Christian High School comes with a lot of blessings. For our students who have literally been raised here since preschool or Kindergarten, it’s rare they walk into a classroom without knowing at least half of the students. This can be an amazing feeling—to know and to be known. But what about the students who just recently enrolled with our school? The ones who don’t know anyone and that nobody really knows?
How can we encourage our “veteran students” to step out of their own comfort zone and be inclusive to our new students? Focusing on our theme this year is the perfect starting point. Philippians 2:3-5 tells us to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
When our attitude is genuinely that of Christ, we should then automatically step into being others-focused.
It’s easy and comfortable to focus on what and who is familiar: sitting with the same friends at the lunch table or the volleyball game. It’s not always easy to invite someone new to the table. There’s a risk that it will not sit well with the “regulars”. Is your teenager willing to take that risk—to be the example that shows an attitude of Christ by including someone who needs a friend?
A verse I make every attempt to live by is Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” I believe this fits well with our theme this year. Again, if our attitude is truly that of Christ, we will use our words and actions to build others up.
Take the time to have a real conversation with your teenager. It could not only benefit our new students, but it could go a long way in setting an example to for other “veterans” to step out of their own comfort zone and be inclusive as well.
Take It Home
Discuss with your teenager:
1) Are there any new students you’ve met on campus? (If they’ve not met any yet, encourage them to be bold and introduce themselves!)
2) Do you always sit with the same group of friends at lunch? What might happen if you invited someone new to sit with you?
3) What does “having the same mindset as Christ Jesus” mean to you, especially in terms of new students / students who no one really knows?
Another thing you can discuss with your teenager:
Do they have friends that would benefit from the community of CVC? Those friends can find out more here!