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Love is a Verb
“Who here knows Spanish?” Multiple hands go up. “Can anyone tell me the word for love?” A little hesitation… “Amar.” Impressed with their attention so far, I keep pushing, “Okay, so how do you say ‘I love you’?” Again, they are a little quiet for a while, mumbling amongst themselves “Te amo”. Great! Then, I ask them why this sounds different from “amar” as in why does it change from “amar” to “amo”. This threw some of them off at first, as a lot of them likely did not know the technical term to explain the grammar of a language that they learned from the mouths of their parents, not the worksheets handed to them by teachers. Finally, someone came up with the term and told me that it happens because you must conjugate it. I asked them what kind of words get conjugated, and at this point they are a little over the excitement of sharing their language and annoyed by the grammar quiz but finally they give me the last little bit I need from them: verbs, verbs get conjugated. I pointed out to them that when you feel a certain way you do not conjugate it, like when you are happy you say “estoy feliz” and when she is happy you say “esta feliz” but the word for happy never changes, yet when you feel love for someone you say “te amo” and when someone loves you, you say “me ama”. Why? Because love is not a feeling. Love is a verb, and I was prepared to give them some examples on how to do it, with a little help of course!
Get your corndogs ready!
I turned to Kid President (Robbie Novak) for some help with this lesson and after some complicated technical issues, like figuring out where to plug the computer in, I had this sweet young man displayed on our gym wall! We often use short videos to help us out at this youth group because it gives the kids something to look at and often something to laugh about before they have to listen to us for 20 minutes or so. This time was different though, Kid President was leading the night and I was just the secretary. For this, I put on the video “20 Things We Should Say More Often” (check it out below and then keep reading) and after every item on the list, I paused it and gave them a little task, game, or question.
Here were some of the favorites:
#18: Here’s a surprise corndog that I bought you because you’re my friend! I had the other CORE members ready to go with the trays of corndogs that I brought them and WOW, I am pretty sure I was their favorite person in the world for a moment there. I 100% recommend giving your middle school group corndogs. 100%.
#14 I have barbecue sauce on my shirt too. I asked them to write down, as well as raise their hands and share, if they have ever judged or pointed out someone’s flaws. I also asked if someone had done this to them, and how that made them feel.
#12 Everything is going to be okay. I asked them to share
things that they were worried about, and told them that God would be there for them. A couple of the kids, one in particular, dumped out some heavy stuff and we all stopped and prayed together at that time.
#11 Aw you got me a corndog too? You shouldn’t have buddy! For this one I had prepared a pile of cards with random acts of kindness written on each one and challenged them! They were simple things like “thank a teacher” and one that stood out was a student who got “put a stranger’s cart away for them at the grocery store” he was already excited imagining how thankful they would be! If you want a way to share the love with your own acts of kindness, click here and read about a project that a friend of mine is doing!
#9 You’re so awesome I named my dog after you! I had them raise their hands, bring another friend up to the front, and give them a genuine compliment! They really enjoyed this one, both giving and receiving the compliments was special for them.
#8 Hello person I’ve never met before, here’s a high-five! I had them run around giving each other high-fives! This reenergized them so they were ready to listen to more, and it was extra special for me and other CORE members when they went out of their way to give us high-fives.
#3 Sometimes you just gotta scream! Once I got the ball rolling (and after some awkward looks) the room was filled with screams and laughter! Can you say stress-relief?!
Bonus, let’s dance! This one sounds great in theory but let me tell you, if your group is like mine, they will not dance along. It will be awkward.
What does that have to do with love?
After all the activities were done, we broke into small groups and had great discussions about the reflections that we did throughout the activities. They told me about what they were thankful for, what they were worried about, what they wanted prayers for, and overall we all bonded more than we had in the past. There was a whole lotta love in the room and it was clear that the Holy Spirit was really doing His thing. Each of these twenty things gave each student ideas on how to show their love to others and how to notice and participate in the love of Christ. Then, I brought them all back together and ended by showing them “Kid President Shares Your Things We Should Say More Often” which is both hilarious and the perfect ending. Here, Kid President shares that he did not include “I love you” in the list because each of the items was a way of saying I love you. Exactly what I was telling them. If you want to know more about the night and the tasks I gave for the other numbers in the list, let me know! Now, go out there and give someone a corn dog!
“Boring people just talk, awesome people do.” -Kid President