Grace in the Ordinary "Sometimes grace manifests itself as synchronicity -- its energy brings together people or events in a soothing, helpful, or dramatic way when you most need it and least expect it. At other times grace is the energy that suddenly illuminates us with understanding, allowing us to see what we had not been able to grasp before.
We love to see teens touched by love, especially the love of their parents. It is powerful when teens cry, and there are always some tears when we hand out these letters. In some places, it is a sacred tradition. So why do I hate letters from parents on retreats more than I love them?
Because of what I have seen, heard and experienced: They are an organizational nightmare. No matter how many letters, emails, texts, and phone calls are put out there to get letters from parents in on time, the organizers of this activity are almost always scrambling at the last minute to ensure that every kid has a letter.
Sometimes not every kid gets a letter. I have seen this happen and it is heartbreaking when everyone else gets a letter from at least one parent and there is a kid who gets a letter from a teacher or youth minister or campus minister instead; this causes more hurt than we can imagine.
This issue can be exacerbated by how many hurting families there are in our world. The quantities of letters are often variable. There is rarely any quality control, and what is in these letters can devastate teens. I once spoke to a teenage boy who told me with tears in his eyes that one of his letters was a tirade from his dad about all of the ways that he needed to improve his life — the letter lacked any loving affirmation.
Another time a kid simply received a Hallmark card that was signed by his parents. I have to be honest, though. There can be a good side to these letters from parents: Some organizers do a great job of ensuring that every kid gets a letter from at least one parent.
I have had teens tell me on numerous occasions that the letters from parents was the most touching, powerful, and memorable part of their retreat. It is a great thing for parents; if they clearly know what such a letter should include, the overwhelming majority will rise to the occasion and express incredible love to their kids through these letters.
It puts a spotlight on parenting. Though we in youth ministry know that parents are the primary educators of their kids in matters of faith, this is easily forgotten in practice.
These letters can be a powerful reminder to teens about how much God loves them through their parents. In order for this activity to work well, then, I believe that we must count the cost before doing it and be willing to invest plenty of time and energy into making sure that it works well.
If we follow a few practical guidelines, we can protect teens from potential hurt and pain, while ensuring - to the best of our ability - that this experience is incredibly positive. If you ever want to include letters from parents on future retreats or ministry events, I suggest that you hold a mandatory parent meeting where you discuss the importance of these letters The problem with such a meeting, is, of course, that those who need the most guidance rarely show up.
This adds another layer to the organizational nightmare, requiring sign-in sheets and following up with those who were absent. Here are some things to seriously consider including in such a meeting: Let parents know that if you do not receive their letters by a certain deadline, you will not distribute letters to anyone on the retreat.
This rule must be uncompromising; the quality of the retreat experience cannot be diminished because of disorganized parents. Give a serious deadline. I suggest two weeks in advance of the retreat, in light of what you will read in 5 below. Give the parents some sample letters, both good and bad, so they will know clearly what to do and what not to do.
If possible, you might want to have an older student attend the meeting and read a sample of a positive letter they received at a past retreat, highlighting what touched them and why. Tell parents that you will read every letter as soon as it is turned in and that you will check all letters for appropriateness — not only because of how poorly written letters can be hurtful to teens, but to ensure that the experience is as powerful as it can be.
This may sound crazy and controversial and might meet some resistance, but I have a friend who instituted this practice several years ago.
Though there was an initial negative reaction from parents - as there often is when you do something new - over the years the negativity has decreased and it is now just a normative part of the experience.
By the way, my friend has rarely called parents to modify their letters; just the knowledge that letters will be scrutinized has insured that they are generally well-written.
Let parents know that if any letter does not meet clear standards of excellence, it will be sent back to them with suggestions for revisions.My girlfriend wants me to write her a retreat letter. I know it should be inspiring and encouraging. I’m not too big on the whole God thing so I don’t know a whole lot about the religious .
A Retreat Letter is a letter written usually by a family member or friend to a retreatant, person attending a retreat. The letter is usually a . Mar 01, · A Letter to My 16 Year Old Daughter **Note: I went on retreat last week with Mary Kate and we were asked to write a letter to each other.
Of course, I wrote and wrote but my paper and my time were limited so for a week, I've continued the letter . Write a few sentences about some of the special qualities you seen in him or her. You can select on of his or her specific talents, for example, and explain how it can be valuable to the church or play into their religious pursuits.
A retreat letter is nothing but a letter of encouragement. A retreat can be an awakening moment, during which some encouraging words would do much. It can be for spiritual reasons, such as to reconnect to a god or it may follow a period in prison.
A Retreat Letter is a letter written usually by a family member or friend to a retreatant, person attending a retreat.
The letter is usually a secret and given to the retreatant to read during a.