Picture this: despite boxes of food falling off the shelves, your 16 year old opens up the cupboard and says “there’s nothing to eat!” After a lecture on global hunger, you offer your child a sandwich and a glass of milk, which he or she happily accepts. Why is an after school snack such a huge decision? It’s because the last portion of the brain which develops well into adolescence is the cerebellum. Dr. Jay Giedd, a neuroscientist from the National Institute of Mental Health, explains the role of the cerebellum: “Anything we can think of as higher thought, mathematics, music, philosophy, decision-making, social skill, draws upon the cerebellum. ….” (link) Your child is not trying to be difficult in an effort to see your face turn red. It’s because your child’s brain isn’t sufficiently developed to make a simple decision.
I have been privileged to help mentor a group of high school girls for the last three years. Once a month we get together and the girls pick a topic they’d like to discuss. Since September, the topic of post-secondary has been chosen twice. Why? I think it’s because our girls are being asked to make huge decisions that will affect the rest of their lives, and their brains aren’t mature enough to handle the responsibility. My standard response to our students has become this: take one year to learn more about God and who you are as His child. The Christian Discipleship program at CLBI is one option of many. From the CLBI website: “The Christian Discipleship Program is a one-year program designed to help students become rooted and rock solid. Students are prepared to face decisions regarding lifestyle choices for the future. Every student is exposed to God-honoring directives for life.” Through programs similar to this one, young people would be given the opportunity to develop their hearts and minds. They could create faith-based bonds with fellow students. They could participate in missional projects at home and beyond.
What if bible school was the norm?