Part of the “magic” of mission trips and events like the 30 Hour Famine is that they take place outside of the normal context of students’ lives. Often, they take place in a different location, away from teens’ family and friends. In so doing, they force teens to step outside their comfort zones, take risks, and in the process, learn to depend on God in new ways.
While we want teens to encounter God and learn how to depend more fully on him, there’s an inherent problem in this event “magic”: It usually doesn’t involve parents. Worse still, many parents cannot understand these spiritually formative events because they have never experienced them. As a result, even well-intentioned, caring parents can find it difficult to understand what happened during such an event.
Knowing this, here are six strategies to help bridge the gap that big events like mission trips and the Famine often create between teens and their parents.
1. Work to increase parents’ knowledge quotients before your event. Suggest books to read or movies to watch that relate to what you’re learning and doing. For mission trips, also suggest books and movies specifically related to where you’re going.