7 ways to show your students you don’t care this summer

my office is a mess. campus is freakishly quiet. i’ve been moving slow in the mornings and in bed early in the evenings.

such is the summertime in campus ministry. and that’s a good thing. i believe most of us cram 12 months worth of work into 9 months.

so, breathe easy. rest. it’s OK. you have permission.

but don’t check out on your students completely. in fact, it would be wise to check in on them frequently this summer. say hello. find out what is going on in their world. ask how you can be praying for them. remind them that you are still around, still their campus minister, and still very much a part of their lives.

unless you don’t care.

and if you don’t, i am providing seven quick, simple things you should avoid this summer so that you are completely disengaged from all of your college students.

  1. don’t text them.
    today, i got an out of the blue text message from my campus minister. (mind you, i graduated from college twelve years ago.) i felt remembered, encouraged, and loved. it was the worst.
  2. don’t post on their facebook page.
    don’t go on their turf. don’t engage their world. leaving a post on someone’s facebook wall is the equivalent of finding a note in your lunchbox from your mom in grade school. don’t do that.
  3. don’t tweet them.
    keeping your encouragement or blessing for your students under 140 characters can be tough. don’t deal with the hassle.
  4. don’t chat with them on facebook or skype.
    if 140 characters is too much, then there is no way a facebook chat is feasible. too much typing. and you will definitely feel uncomfortable turning your cam on for some actual face time on skype. it would be a shame to there to be eye contact.
  5. don’t call them on the phone.
    who uses the phone for talking anymore? it’s all about angry birds.
  6. don’t drop by their home or share a meal.
    if students happened to have stayed in town, you should avoid stopping by their houses or taking them out for a meal or coffee. you wouldn’t step into the cage of a wild wildebeest, would you? never mind all that stuff Jesus said about being sent to the world on their playground.
  7. don’t mail them a real, live handwritten letter or card.
    nobody enjoys getting a thoughtful, hand-written letter addressed specifically to them containing encouragement that tells them they are being thought of and prayed for. nobody.

romance challenge #2: small gifts

none of this is rocket surgery or brain science, but it’s always good to be reminded. and i post things here so you know that i practice what i preach.

yesterday was our wedding anniversary. keri and i have been married for 12 years. and to celebrate, my kids and i brainstormed up a list of small gifts that we knew she would like. we wanted to find 12 things, one for each year of our marriage. we gave them to her at dinner time and we were all heroes.

here is what we landed on:

Camerazoom-20120109072710529

and here are a few lessons i learned about the romantic and intentional sharing of small gifts:

  1. it doesn’t have to be expensive: all in all, these 12 items cost me under $12.
  2. it doesn’t have to be elaborate: originally, the kids and i wanted to do a whole scavenger hunt thing. we simply ran out of time. we were kind of bummed, but it really didn’t matter in the end.
  3. it doesn’t have to be a lot: originally, we wanted to come up with 12 different items. in the picture, you can see that 8 of the 12 items are packets of hot chocolate. and that’s OK.
  4. involve the kids: the kids have fun, you have fun, and the wife thinks you’re a hero.

so, get at it. while i did this for our anniversary, you don’t have to wait until then. you can do this today.