Answering Bullying and the Media via Deuteronomy 6
In my last post, I talked about problems surrounding bullying and media where I highlighted the problems teens face because of the problems of bullying, peer pressure and media impose on their lives with conflicting messages and often damaging images of what life is our ought to be like.
Challenged to think of a “youth worker” solution, I began to think of ways that youth workers can help avoid having our teens fall into the traps that come from bullying and media’s mixed messages.
My thought process shifted to Deuteronomy:
Deuteronomy is in the form and function of a vassal treaty. Vassal treaty is a treaty that is formed between a superior being to an inferior being. In this case, it is God and how he promises to protect and work with us. In Deuteronomy, the vassal treaty follows thisformat: Preamble (1:1-5); Historical Prologue (1:6-4:49); General Stipulations (5-11); Specific Stipuations (12-26); Blessings and Curses (27-28); Witnesses (30:19, 31:19, 32:1-43).4. Like most contracts, there is give and take between what one person does and how they other will respond. In a vassal contract, the higher power gives the lower one what to do and the rewards/consequences of what will happen if the treaty is followed.
D-6 is a section where Moses is telling Israel about general stipulations and the central reward of the passage is that you, your children and your grandchildren to have a long lift, that your life will be good to you and be blessed by God. In many ways, this is a team event. Youth workers have a narrow window, youth workers need to also focus on equipping families to do the same.
Maybe the solution isn’t with youth workers?
These commandments are to be taught from generation, in a manner that is incessant. D-6:7 talks of families, even communities teaching the younger generations about God in a constant manner. I like to call this behavior using teachable moments. Youth workers need to be seeing to the encouragement of our youth and using teachable moments to build God’s word into the heart of our youth. Tools like CPYU’s media resource guide help us and help us help families build into our teens media savvy-ness. While this may be good with teens and youth workers to go over, it may be better to get the parents on board with these tools.
Media and a Moral Compass
The best way to build into teens is building into them a strong moral compass. This happens through Deut 6:7. Talk about and engage society when it happens, know how to build the word of God into our teens. The best way to combat incidents of both bullying and poor media modeling is to engage it when it happens and either rebuke or exhort your teens to a higher road. (or educate them with reality if its a media thing)
Modeling against bullying and the media.
I think it’s extremely important that our youth ministries are the safest place for all students. That’s why I think it’s so important that our ministries are harmful humor free zone. The interesting thing about most youth workers, including myself is that we are king and queens of teasing…you could say it’s one of our love languages! Do I think we get rid of all the humor? No. But I do think that we need to be fully aware of the habits and attitudes that we are passing on to our students through humor
Responding to bullying and media matters is probably too big for one blog post, but I think Deuteronomy 6 goes a long way to addressing how to handle these things, and perhaps inoculate them from some of the assaults of their peers and their TV/s radios/ Ipods…