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doodlebug
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31 May 2009, 8:17 pm

The church we attend has a youth group which technically starts in 7th grade, however the 6th graders usually go up and get to start doing stuff with the youth group. My son has just graduated from 5th grade and we move up at the beginning of the summer so by tradition he would be moving up now. The Sunday School superintendent approached me this morning about moving him up and said he would talk with the youth leader about moving him up. He called me about an hour ago and said that the youth leader says he can't move up since he won't be in 7th grade next year.

I have gone over all the kids in my head and literally all of them have gone up in 6th grade. I angry and heartsick at the same time. I think my kid is being singled out. On the other hand if the youth leader doesn't want him in the youth group, I don't really want my kid in there. The kid is going to figure this out pretty soon and I have no idea what to do.

I could complain, but then the leader would be forced to take a kid he doesn't want. I could not complain and then when the kid figures it out he will be really hurt. I just feel really stuck.

Any ideas?



CelticGoddess
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31 May 2009, 8:30 pm

Oh no. That's awful. :( How invested in the group is your son? Does he have his heart set on moving up? I would have a talk with the Sunday School Super. Go in and have a face to face meeting and ask what is going on. Let him know that it's widely known kids move up in the 6th and it appears as if DS is being singled out. If they can't compromise and they insist the rule is for the child to be in 7th, calmly explain that *enter list of names of other children here* have all moved up before the 7th and DS will soon figure out for himself that he is not being included. THen ask THEM how they feel it should be handled. Put the ball back in their court. Just stay calm and go on a fact finding mission without jumping to conclusions. See what you can find out.



Xinae
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31 May 2009, 8:31 pm

What about just talking to the youth leader about it? Give him a chance to explain his reasons, if you still don't agree then you can go over his head and if your kid finds out you can explain to him why.



lelia
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31 May 2009, 10:39 pm

Celtic Goddess might be right.
I got asked by one person in a thousand member church to not bring my autistic child to her Sunday School. I left, enraged, "If they don't want her, they don't want ME!" Many tears, much anguish. When I could be less emotional about it, I went to the Pastor, and told him of the incident. I said that my child behaved in ways that no one could handle, what should we do about it? The church gave enough budget to hire someone to run in a separate room what we called Sunday morning respite. Parents could leave their child there during church time and attend any church they wanted as long as we could reach them if there was a problem. I know another church that instituted a buddy system where an older teenager or young adult would become the the buddy of an autistic or other badly behaved person. They sat with with them in church as long as the autistic person could stand it, and then they would walk the halls with the autistic person. I know another church that instituted a special service on Wednesday night for those with kids who could not handle a regular service.

If you could arrange a brainstorming session with yourself, the pastor, the youth leader, and anybody else you think useful, and see if you can find out what the specific problem is and maybe find a workaround that is acceptable to the youth leader. You want to look calm and like a problem-solver, not a pushy mom who is going to shove the youth leader around. He may know something about the group dynamics of the youth that you do not. Or, he could just be scared. Or he could be prejudiced so badly the church needs to get a new youth leader. I don't know what the situation is other than the youth leader has some concern he was not willing to tell you for some reason and so he came up with the bogus reason. Is he afraid of you for some reason? Is he a coward and afraid of hurting your feelings? Maybe other parents told him they don't want your son in the group because they are afraid of....?

If you can find some way to frame this as an opportunity to minister that needs more thought than most ministries instead of as an accusation, and have group meetings rather than one on one he said she saids, your church might find a new ministry to get enthusiastic about.

I am not saying you are spouting accusations or being difficult to live with or that your child is an ogre. I am simply thinking out loud here about possibilities and how people react. I empathize with you so strongly that I am near tears and I want to bring you solace and an instant solution and I want to shoot all the bad people in the world who won't love our kids. yeah, well. If I come up with anything useful, I'll let you know.



doodlebug
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01 Jun 2009, 12:15 am

The SS sup was very apologetic about the whole thing so I think he felt rather guilty.

I'm going to call him back tomorrow or I guess later today.



doodlebug
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01 Jun 2009, 6:59 pm

I'm not real sure where to start.

I spoke to my best friend and my mom (and indirectly to my sisters). They tend to be my voices of reason. They let me know when I have way over reacted and I need to get over myself. None of them thought I was.

I called back the SS sup today to be sure I understood. He confirmed the kid couldn't move up and I asked if there was a specific reason that he wouldn't be able to move up. He said the the youth leader said that then what would he tell the parents of the other 6th graders. The problem is that the other 6th grader (one other currently although there were several others that moved up last year) is already attending this because she is bff with the youth leader's daughter. I really feel like it was a flat out lie.

The second thing was that it was his current sunday school teacher who originally spoke to the SS sup about moving the kid up.