In about a month I am taking a group of 16 teenagers on a trip to St. Louis for a conference. There is so much that goes into trips like this that it is hard to believe it is actually that close. As with any retreat, there are always real concerns that I have for these events. This conference brings in something like 7,000 high school students to one location which makes it quite dynamic. This is enough to scare most people from coming within 100 miles of the city due to the many perceptions of high school groups. I know that there have been instances of groups getting into trouble and even adults encouraging it. I don’t believe it has to be that way if adults are proactive and truly acting like adults.
There was a story in the news this week of 100 students ejected from a plane while on some school trip. They would not comply with flight crew instructions and were kicked off. The school administrator said, “it does not appear that the action by the flight crew was justified.” Really? So we are to believe that they just kick people off the plane because they don’t like them? I find it to be discouraging that someone working alongside teenagers would not be able to help them see the need to comply with instructions. I find it even more disturbing that they did not respond to directions. That mean old airline and its rules I guess.
I realize that there will always be people who push the limits a bit. I just let my group know in advance that there are always issues with some groups and that our group will not be that group. Taking students on a trip is always a risk. My policy is to let them know right away that they are expected to respect other people and honor Christ in their interactions with people. If they can’t do that, then they can go home at their parent’s expense. I don’t know about you, but if I had called my mom and told her I needed to come home while on a trip like this I would have been scared for my life. There are consequences for actions and the sooner people realize that the better off they will be. Adults need to wake up and stop making excuses for their poor leadership. Teenagers are more than able to behave appropriately; they are not the out of control mass of humanity so many people believe. They are people who desire to be challenged and will respect boundaries like anyone else. There is no reason to make a scene or blame an airline for having rules. The rules are not the problem here.
I guess my concern is that we are getting too affirming of disrespectful behavior. Our children deserve higher standards than that and will thank us for it later. It is time to lead not excuse.