By Shane Sanchez, Pastor of Youth Ministries at MISSION Community Church in Gilbert, AZ
Is there anything with more potential for awkwardness than talking about sex with a room full of middle schoolers?
Awkward as it may be, it’s one of the most important and influential conversations you can guide your students through. In my experience, there are a few things you can do to help you get through it with as few awkward moments as possible.
So as you’re preparing for “the talk” with your middle schoolers, here are some tips to help you lead well.
1) Rely on relationships. Most of you aren’t coming in blind to speak to your students. You’ve spent time with them. You know them. You care about them. And because of that, they trust you and the things you’re saying to them. Rely on that relational equity you’ve been building with your students as you step into communicate on this specific subject.
2) Confidence is key. As a Communicator, you have to be confident with this content. Your confidence will control the tone of the room. If you approach it with awkwardness or unease, your students will respond in the same way. Be confident when you communicate so your students will know that not only do you not feel uncomfortable with the subject matter, but they don’t have to either.
3) Remind them that you’ve been there. Pair that confidence with a little humility as well. Remember, you’ve been where they are. Don’t talk down to them in this moment. Instead, speak from the place of an adult who knows how they feel and can help them navigate it from a place of experience.
4) Find space to ease the tension. Middle schoolers have minuscule attention spans. That means that during a talk on any subject matter, they need moments to laugh, move around, or break the tension in the room. This is especially true for a talk on sex! Make sure you look for ways to ease the tension they might be feeling by allowing them to laugh, or interact, or even move around the room. While you don’t want to lose them completely to ill-conceived jokes or too much time to talk, you do want to provide opportunities to ease the tension so they’ll better be able to focus.
If you are looking for a lesson on sex that is developmentally appropriate for the middle school phase, check out the Spring 2019 XP3 MS Curriculum HERE. A whole team of us have created a four week series called MADE.