Why we do it...
"... but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, (1 Pet 3:15)
"Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a parent ages as much as 20 years."
"When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you."
- Unknown Author
"... for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matt 7:13-14)
“…therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul,… teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise... that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied…” (Deut 11:18-21)
“… I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)
Our motivation, first and foremost, comes from a desire to serve God. We've been blessed beyond measure and it just makes sense to do things and think of things that glorify the God that has so richly blessed us. Sure, we understand that there are many folks out there that don't share the same beliefs, and people are certainly at liberty to refuse the truth and deny things that are good, but like many people in this community and in our great nation, we are thankful for our Christian heritage and we are not ashamed to be honest about the hope that lies within us.
At the end of the day, this teen center is just that, a place for teen-aged youth to hang out and do things they enjoy. That said, we can't change who we are and what we are... Yes, many of our goals have much to do with serving man (for the sake of helping others, bringing joy to their lives, doing something for the community, etc.), but the primary reason behind our efforts is to serve God by doing what he tells us we ought to do.
The benefits of this teen center are numerous. Here's a short list of the more obvious ones:
There are certainly more benefits than these, and we look forward to learning more about teen-age life here on the prairie. Sure, some of our ideas will fail, but we'll strive to learn lessons and move onward to improved practices. No matter what we do, we certainly can't be all things to all people, and there are some things we simply won't do because they're diametrically opposed to our mission... If, at the end of the day, we can bring joy & improve the lives of only a few, we'll be happy with our investment and be thankful we had the opportunity to do so...
So lets get down to the nitty-gritty ... At the heart of this endeavor is a genuine interest in positively influencing the lives of one of our greatest & precious resources - our children. We love spending time with children, especially teens, and we hope that our interaction is a blessing to them as it is to us. We acknowledge it's a parent's God given duty to raise & educate their children and that responsibility rests solely on them... and we certainly don't intend to interfere with that relationship. That said, if we can be an asset to parents and augment their efforts, just as a school or some other type of social institution does, we are happy to do so.
We see the full spectrum of family life here on the prairie. Yes, some kids have all the material comforts one could hope for, but even some of these can use a place to hang out when they're stuck in town or they may simply want to hang out with some friends somewhere other than home... and whose to say that just because someone is blessed with material wealth that everything is all love & light on the home front. So we trust we can offer these kids something too, even if it's just a mature conversation or a fun place to be when they'd rather not be at home.
There are also kids out there that have some fairly significant & complex challenges to deal with - right? They may have rock-star parents but simply have a rebellious heart or maybe they're good kids but their home life is mixed up... Whatever the circumstances may be, we'll make every effort to fill some gaps by providing a good home away from home - a place where kindness and honest / biblical advice is the norm.
It's certainly easy to dwell on the negatives and grumble about all the problems in the world, or even pretend they don't exist in our community. The Bible tells us, however, that we should not only be wise about such things, but give thanks and put our faith in God... AND that we should even be joyful and happy to travel the road He has set before us.
"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." (Heb 13:16)
"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years."
- Mark Twain
"The human brain is special. It starts working as soon as you get up and it doesn't stop until you get to school." — Milton Berle
"Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,..." (Psalm 127:3)
"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." (Jam 1:27)