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Three Basic Needs of Youth

This is an exerpt from the ELCA website concerning the basic needs of youth. It is extracted from the article that outlines the philosophy and methodology of the confirmation process. I thought this was really good:

Three Basic Needs

As congregations strive to bring the Gospel to young people and nurture them in lives of faith, they should consider the following three basic needs often expressed by young people:

The Need for Self-Worth and Personal Identity. A variety of experiences shape self-worth and personal identity, two issues that need careful attention in work with youth, who often see themselves as unworthy and incapable of measuring up. Our society’s emphasis on competition and achievement, the dilemma between having and not having, the media images of perfection, and adult expectations contribute to young people’s negative feelings about themselves.

The Need for Relationships. Personal identity is linked to a sense of belonging to a group. Young people need relationships with each other, with adults, and with God. Friendship-making and group decision-making skills are important. Exposure to various styles of family life, persons of different ages, and adult mentors can help young Christians feel important and needed. Youth especially need to be needed. They need to be valued as contributing members of the church, capable of being partners in the Gospel.

The Need for Time. Sometimes adults appear to have too little time for young people. Unfortunately, many young people also have too little time for themselves. Yet, growing up takes time, pressure-free time, to observe, participate, reflect, and question repeatedly amid dramatic physical, emotional, and spiritual changes. Having time for personal growth in the context of patient love is essential to emotional well-being.

Grace-centered confirmation ministry addresses these basic needs of young people in light of the resources available to the congregation. It can respond to those youth who may have been closed out of the life of the congregation. An experientially based, cooperative learning program can integrate all young people.

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