Tonight’s banquet was a big success. I didn’t realize how much I was stressing about it until about half-way through when I could see that it was "working" and I felt this weight lift from my shoulders. I am so thankful to God for working out the little things to make tonight work.
One of the "little things" was that the students decided that they wanted to valet park their parents. I was nervous about teenagers driving other people’s cars (even in the parking lot) but it worked out great and really set the tone for the whole evening. One of my Wednesday night workers volunteered and really headed the whole thing up and the students did a great job serving their parents. When each person at your banquet has their own personal waiter (or at the most when 2 people share a waiter) you can serve people very quickly.
Of course the food took longer than expected to cook so I was forced to change the schedule up a bit, but things went well. One of my goals for the evening was to spend some time praising each student in the presence of their parents. I wanted their parents to hear some of the good things that their child was a part of. I was nervous that there was going to be someone I didn’t have anything good to say about there, but that wasn’t the case. So anyway, when the food wasn’t ready I did that.
I have put my ideas for the discussion time after the jump.
First I made them line up into 4 rows: 1 row for dads, 1 row for moms, 1 row for guy teens and 1 row for girl teens. These rows were front to back facing forward. Then I had them look at the people who were beside them and move around until they weren’t in the same group of 4 with anyone in their family.
Then I had these groups of 4 go and find a place to sit. Basically what I wanted was a family unit of people who weren’t in the same family. The idea was to remove some of the baggage and help them to have better conversation.
I passed out cards to the teenagers and had them write questions they would like to ask their parents and the same for parents to ask their teenagers.
Then to sort of break the ice I choose groups to work through the scenarios below. (I ended up with 2 adults in every group so I had to modify the scenarios a bit) The adults took on the role of the teenager and the students took on the role of adults. It was a fun way to sort of kick off the idea of communication.
Then I chose the best of the questions and simply read them out and let the discussion groups talk about them. From where I was sitting I heard some really great conversations.