Need Some More Advice On A Ministry Issue...

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Bro. Jeff, Apr 16, 2004.

  1. Bro. Jeff

    Bro. Jeff
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    Here is the situation:

    I have two leadership students who are being antagonized by a group of students in the High School (outside our youth ministry obviously), primarily one individual.

    The issue is that one of them is on the baseball team with the main ringleader. My guy is relatively new to the area (moved in last year) and hasn't had time to develop a great base of friends. He's a freshman in High School and loves to play ball, which brought him into contact with this bully kid.

    The bully is a classic jerk, picking on my youth as an outlet for his own frustrations. Problem is, most of the other guys on the baseball team are the bully's friend and make life pretty rough for the guy in my youth group.

    It was originally confined to the lockerroom but has now spilled out into the hallways. The other leadership student (the first's girlfriend) has stood up for him in the hallways and is no receiving similar treatment. (For example - one of the group of bullies has recorded a rap song about her - filthy of course - and the main bully guy is distributing copies around the school.

    The administration recently found out about it an took minor steps (called into the principle's office) which only intensified the jerk groups' efforts.

    So what do I do?

    Everything in me wants to find the main guy and threaten him or mail him a threatening letter. Of course I won't (The desire towards Christ-likeness and threat of imprisonment constrain me) but I also don't want this to go on unchecked.

    Any thoughts?

    On a side note: I'm proud of my leadership student (male) because he's thus far restrained from knocking the dude's lights out. Part of me wants to tell him to go for it and I'll talk to his parents. ;)

    Regardless - if you (Anyone who reads this thread) will you take a moment and pray for God to resolve this situation and/or give those involved wisdom about how to handle it?
     
  2. Trotter

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    Bro. Jeff,

    One suggestion would be to contact the bully's parents.

    I'd call them up or drop by, but not about the problem (at first). Get a feel for how they act, I guess. I mean, if their kid is acting just like his old man, no amount of confrontation will help. But if you see that the kid is acting solo here, steer the conversation into the situation. Odds are the parents have no idea.

    Or, spring for some karate lessons. Just kidding.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  3. jshurley04

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    The only thing that I could offer would be that these kids are probably not saved according to what you have laid out. Therefore, they are children of Satan and are acting accordingly while he is a child of the King of Kings. If he were to lash out the only thing that would happen would be that the bully would make sure that your kid would recieve the punishment after all of the bully's buddies ganged up on him and beat him to within an inch of his life.

    The book of Job reminds us that even though bad things are happening to us, they are allowed to go only as far as the Father allows. The story of Joseph reminds us that God works bad situations in our lives in order to purge certain attitudes and responses from our lives so that we may become greater tools for His use. Proverbs reminds us that a soft answer turns away wrath while a harsh answer will only make things worse.

    I personally can relate, it reminds me of some of my own life. In every instance, your people MUST remain Christ like and not allow the flesh to respond to these attacks, when that happens, he is nolonger a worthy testimony for Christ to this bully. If there is any response or harshness that your kid has responded with I would reccomend the first step be to seek the bully's forgiveness and to applogize for his personality being such that it offended the bully, and then to tell him that he is working to improve himself so that he will not offend him. While this may not be perfect, it is useful if you desire to reach this bully and any of his buddies for Christ. While your kid does not back down from the bully, it does put your kid in the position of humiliy before the bully. Your kid needs to go out of his way to be kind to this kid and extend friendship, not is hanging out kind of ways, but in small ways such a maybe buying his lunch or finding out what he likes and doing somthing small along those lines. This will heap fires of coal upon the bully's head and teach your kid a real lesson in leadership.
     
  4. Servent

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    This may not be right, but before it comes to blows on the streets, mabe go to the coach and have them put on the gloves. most bullies when confronted will back down.
     
  5. Karen

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    What do the parents of the boy being picked on say and what have they done?
    Or the girl's parents regarding the song?

    I'm actually rather surprised in this day and age of the school's mild approach to such harassment.

    Karen
     
  6. Xingyi Warrior

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    There is no easy answer to this situation. As a child I was bullied in a similar manner for many years. I do not recommend for you or anyone else to confront them as they will just direct the agression back on their targets. I really am finding it difficult to advise you on this but I will tell you a little about my own situation to start. I was always a person who was picked on for a variety of reasons. It made me bitter and in junior high I began studying the Internal Kung Fu style of Xing Yi Chuan from a Taiwanese grandmaster. After a few years I became street lethal and turned my agression on them. All of a sudden the roles had changed - I became the bully. I made nearly everyone who had ever bothered me a mental wreck and sadly began to enjoy it. But it was POWER, and I liked it. I ruined their social lives and wrecked their relationships.
    The first thing that you must understand is that the bullies that are working on your friend are operating on his fear of them. They are not good fighters, or at least not in the sense that I am. The mind is the greatest weapon, extrnalities like physical build, agressiveness, or demeanor pale in comparison. I have not been in a fight for over 13 years because quite honestly, no one in their right mind would want to take the chance and people can read my kinesiology and know that I'm a serious dude. Your friend does not have to follow the same path as I but one thing he must overcome is his fear of them. If I were to confront them they would probably literally pee in their pants because I mean business and regadless of how many they've got on they're side or what weapons they're packing, I'm gonna spill some blood - theirs. And maybe some of my own but I've been there before. They don't want to fight me because I will offer resistance and the reality is that even if they were to get the best of me it will be a hollow victory as many will be hauled off on a stretcher.
    Currently they are feeding on his meekness and retreating posture. He must learn not to be afraid of them and that is going to take some effort on his part. I have handled similar situations with friends of mine and can offer you some suggestions if you wish. I do not want to take up too much thread space so you can send me a private message if you are interested.
     
  7. Xingyi Warrior

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    I would have to disagree with the first part of this statement. Coaches are not idiots and like a fish in a stream, there's little that goes by that they don't notice. Most coaches I have known condoned and in some cases encouraged the behavior. They have their own problems as evidenced by an "only the strong survive" attitude that is held by many coaches and if you can't take the heat....well you get the idea. The confrontation must happen and it does not have to come to blows. But The individual on the recieving end of this must intelligently take the offensive sooner or later or this situation will end up ruining his current life and may scar him for the rest of it.
     
  8. Roy

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    It is a tough situation , Bro. Jeff. I don't know what kind of man the coach is, but if I were coaching a team and knew of bullying that was going on, someone would have the riot act read to him. He would have to miss a couple of games and get kicked off the team completely if I heard so much as a rumor of continued harassment. Such acts just don't promote good team work.

    The young lady may have a grounds for a civil suit because of a vulgar, defaming recording about her being passed around. A letter from an attorney to the parents of the offending parties could get some results. When junior's shenanigans cost Mom and Pop a day in court plus legal fees and court costs, junior may feel parental pressure to ammend his waywardness.

    Keep us posted on the situation. If the situation is ever resolved, I would like to know how it all panned out.

    Roy
     
  9. Xingyi Warrior

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    It will heap coals of fire on the head of someone who has some evidence of a moral/ethical core root of values. If these kids are complete reprobates then it probably won't matter. I've known some gang member types in my life and some of them had a code of ethics and were in some sense redeemable. I've known others that the kindest thing that you could ever do for anyone who would have any dealings with them is to put a bullet in the gang members head. They were completely wasted space. Sadly, there are lots of ordinary people in all walks of life who are aquiring this reprobate mentality at an alarming rate. I think that Roy's idea of the legal avenue merits attention, especially with all the fuss about bullying thats going on nowadays. If not and they are complete reprobates the only languages that they will understand are fear and force.
     
  10. gb93433

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    Where are the student's parents in all of this? That is their responsibility as parents.

    The parents should arrange a meeting with the principle and be very direct with him and lay out their plan if the problem is not resolved. No school likes publicity. If it doesn't stop the parent has every right to file a lawsuit with the school involved. I will tell you that schools hate lawsuits and that kind of publicity. It looks very bad for the administration. The parents must document everything. They need to take notes at each meeting they attend.

    At the end of each meeting the parents need to ask about what they can expect to happen and when they can expect it to happen. They must be assertive about this especially if the bully's parents are friends of the school. The parents can be very nice yet assertive at the same time. They must take nots at each meeting. By taking notes this will give them a reference of who said what and it will also create a paper trail. When the administration sees the parents taking notes they are put on notice that the parents mean business.

    When I taught I always took notes at meetings and there were many times that my record settled a dispute especially if someone tried to put one over on me.
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    I would kill them with kindness and walk away like it doesn't matter. Leaders rise above this kind of stuff. The minute you get the parents involved is the minute it gets worse. It may change the outside, but the leadership students will not learn to rise above this and deal with it biblically. There will come a time in life when this will happen when there are no parents or authority around. Use this as a teaching time to teach them how to respond.

    When the bully sees it is affecting these two, he will keep it up. When he sees it makes no difference, and in fact, brings kindness and friendliness from them, he will probably get bored with it and move on.

    Either way, to me, this is a great chance to teach these two how to handle adversity with a Christian attitude.
     
  12. Plain Old Bill

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    We are team mates and I don't want to fight you I would rather get along with you and make this a better team.I will defend myself if I have to and you may whip me or I may whip you but neither of us will be happy about it when we are through.
    Or he could say ,if you force me to defend myself I will but you will still be a jerk when we are through,besides who are you trying to impress, yourself or your friends. Did you think this up all by yourself or did you get help from some one else.
    We could come up with all kinds of advice for your young man but in the end he will have to work this out for himself and decide what to do.
    In the meantime he can be the best ball player he can be that will win respect all by itself. A little time in the weight room would'nt hurt either. He might also attend sports camps for the sports he is interested in. High school kids end up really respecting other kids that are athletes.Since this is a mental and emotional scuffle at least at this point, his best chance is to be really good at what he does. Nobody on any team hurts anyone who gives them a shot at winning.
    Bullies will not respect his spiritual stand until they respect his physical and athletic abilities. That's the way it works in school.
     
  13. Karen

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    I would have to wholeheartedly disagree. I have two teenagers. The moment my youth leader thought that getting my husband and me involved in a major problem would be making it worse, so he would deal with it on his own, would be the moment we found a new youth group. Youth groups, etc., are to assist the parents, not take over.

    I admit, though, I can't see this happening with either our youth leaders or the relationship we have with our kids. There may be some clueless parents that the youth leader needs to talk to and make aware of a major problem. But it is not up to the youth leader to handle such a thing on his own.

    Karen
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    I am not talking about the parents of the kids in the church group. I am talking about the parents of the kids who he has no relationship with. If I, as a youth pastor, showed up at some parent's door because their son/daughter who I do not know and who I do not have a relationshipw with was giving one of my teens a hard time in school, it would be taken the wrong way, by both the parents and the teens. I wouldn't let a youth pastor do that for my children. And it wouldn't help the situation in the long run. It may provide temporary relief of immediate problems, but it does not solve the long term problem and it does not teach the teenager how to get through problem relationships.

    If your child was one of these two being picked on, hopefully you already know about it because you have been fostering a good relationship with your child. If the youth pastor has to come and tell you these things, there is a bigger problem. So understand, please, that I am confining my comments about involvement of the parents to the nature of the situation between a youth pastor and parents of a teenager who does not go to that church.

    If that were my child, and there were no serious physical dangers, I would tell him to buck up and handle it like a leader. Find a way to get into that other kids life and make a positive impact. I would not call the other parents and I would not call the school unless there was the possibility of serious physical harm.

    I think too many kids today are depending on the wrong things to solve problems. We teach them too often that violence or whining are the only two options to deal with problems. We teach them that rather than solving it themselves (with godly advice and counsel), that they can run to someone else and take the easy way out. Why not teach them that life isn't fair, that everyone is not going to like you, and that you can rise above it and be better for it? Why not teach them that leaders get involved in the lives of those who have problems with them ... that leaders find a way to solve the problem?

    Teens need to learn to handle their problems through proper biblical channels. This is a great teaching opportunity, especially if you are trying to develop leadesrs.
     
  15. jshurley04

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    I would have to wholeheartedly disagree. I have two teenagers. The moment my youth leader thought that getting my husband and me involved in a major problem would be making it worse, so he would deal with it on his own, would be the moment we found a new youth group. Youth groups, etc., are to assist the parents, not take over.

    I admit, though, I can't see this happening with either our youth leaders or the relationship we have with our kids. There may be some clueless parents that the youth leader needs to talk to and make aware of a major problem. But it is not up to the youth leader to handle such a thing on his own.

    Karen
    </font>[/QUOTE]Karen,

    I must respectfully disagree with you. It seems that you do not have much experience with teenage problems. Getting parents involved absolutely makes things worse for the kids when they are at school and around the bully. That is the ultimate point, to make life tolerable for the kids.

    This is an opportunity for the kids to learn the value of pastoral leadership and to trust the youth pastor. It is not a time for parents to fight the kids battles. This is a wonderful chance for the youth to learn some real leadership from someone they seem to respect and would listen to. The youth pastor should not be doing anything more than to guide the youth in this situation, he should not be getting involved outside of the two kids in his leadership team. But he should be intimately involved with the kids on this leadership team.
     
  16. blackbird

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    Bullies are usually good bluffers! He'll keep it up indifineitly(SPELLING) Calling parents and "talkin'" to them will only make it worse---the Bully is a bully probably because his daddy is a bully---probably bullys at his workplace, too---just like his kid does at school!

    I'm with Servant! Lets put "The Gloves" on--if your leader "whips the snot" out of the bully---all that nonsense will stop---what the bully needs is a good "Thrilla in Manilla!"
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    I would also add that I think parents tend to be too overprotective and create soft kids. I don't mean to address Karen in particular since I have no idea. I am just making a general comment. I coach high school soccer and playing time is based on merit and effort. I have started a game with 10 players on more than one occasion because of people not being ready to play or not putting out the effort. I have benched people for attitudes and lack of effort in practice and on the field. I pulled a starter in one game and put in the last guy on the roster. The starter got made but I told him if he was going to watch the game, he could do it with me. He wasn't going to do it on the field.

    I always say at the beginning of the year that playing time is based on merit and effort. Some of you guys are at the bottom and you have realize that. (Of course that is a brief summation of about a 10 minute lecture on the realities of the situation.)

    I say that to say this: A couple of seasons ago I got a note from the mother of a kid who was overweight, out of shape, and incompetent because he was only playing a couple of minutes every other game or so. She thought he should be playing more. I don't like that as a coach. I didn't say anything to her or him. I went on about my business. Kids have to learn to live life. We can and should help them and guide them, but we cannot fight their fights and bail them out of every situation. We need to be mentors and guides, not safety nets. Obviously as they get older, they will need less and less. I am not suggesting we leave our toddlers out on the street to fend for themselves. But we cannot be overprotective.
     
  18. gb93433

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    Having taught high school I did see some of this type of behavior. It happened twice in the years I taught. What I did was to talk with each student personally to find out what was going on. Then I told them that it must cease immediately and that if it did not then I would take it further. I never saw any time where it went any further.
     
  19. Xingyi Warrior

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    I think the whole matter could be settled if the school admin just put the hammer down on the bullies. Of curse if they're "sports stars" or have influential parents that could be a problem. If there has been physical or even mental abuse involved in the situation then the school, if it doesn't take action could be liable legally. Id get the attorneys invloved.
     
  20. gb93433

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    Often the school administration does not want publicity so they leave the issue alone. If you don't make waves people won't dislike you.

    A friend of mine from college who was a school administrator told me that when he first arrived at the school he was at he put his foot down and got some trouble from a few parents. The war started and he won. But the parents gave him a lot of trouble at first.

    Remember the teacher who failed her students for plagiarism on their paper and how it made the national news. Many students cheated and they signed a paper agreeing that they were not to plagiarize. They did and reaped the benefits. But a number of the parents came unglued.

    When I taught high school I was asked to teach a basic math class. I did and at the end of the first quarter I failed about half of the class. I told them they must have all of their homework done to pass the class. The principal called me into the office to find out why. I told him why and he supported me. I graded on a semester basis. I didn't average the grades. Their grade was based on the total number of points. Teachers and administrators told me that I wouldn't be able to get the students to finish their homework. I proved them wrong. What I saw happen to the students was absolutely great. Everyone of them caught up on their homework except one. There were all A's, B's and C's. No D's and only one F.

    If we expect nothing we get it every time. Students will grow and have a sense of accomplishment as we help them to achieve the maximum but not exasperate them.
     

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