5 ways to support our young people this exam season

Helen Thorne | May 29th 2014

It's upon us again. That time when school, college and uni students are buried under a pile of revision and struggling with the stress of exams. Some are aiming for As, others hoping to scrape a pass. Some are burdened, others couldn't care less (indeed, we might wish they cared more!)

So how can we support them as they navigate the difficult weeks of revision and writing?

1. Pray

It's obvious, I know, but I forget all too often. Let's pray that they will concentrate well, write well and keep perspective well ... remembering both that it's great to give of their best this season but also that exam results have no bearing on their eternal destiny only their temporary career prospects.

2. Give

Little gifts can bring a smile to the most stressed face. I'm not talking a book of revision notes here (it's a bit late for that now!) but something small that reminds students they're loved. A quirky stressball, some chocolate, a card bearing a Bible verse, a music download voucher or a pineapple (always my gift of choice if I'm looking for something 'outside the box') could work well. You know the character of the young person you're supporting - so you'll know what works best for them and what will best send the simple message "God cares about what you're going through and so do I".

3. Text

Students are no different to the rest of us - when the pressure is on, it's easy to lose sight of just how wonderful God is and how much we need him. So text a Bible verse, send a relevant biblical truth to help them focus afresh on the God who is sovereign over all and who loves them beyond measure. Tap out a short message to tell them they're being prayed for too.

4. Help

Some people revise best alone - we can give them the space they need. Others revise best in groups - we can encourage them to get together with their friends or family members. Some churches even set aside specific evenings or Saturday mornings for revision - a quiet church space, with a prayer and a song at the start and the end, books to borrow lying around and teachers from the congregation sitting quietly in the corner ready to answer questions that may crop up. Knowing the church is behind them, can be a huge encouragement to young people.

5. Feed

Everyone needs to eat. Let's encourage our young people to eat healthily! Offer 45 minute lunch invitations - a chance to sit, chat, relax and eat something yummy with a mature Christian who cares but with the promise that the food will be on the table when they arrive and they'll be on their way home again in under an hour so they can pick up the books once more. Spiritual food is important too - so let's use our lunch chats to encourage students to keep coming to church over the exam season. After all, the Bible is the best nourishment any human being can get ...

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Helen Thorne

Helen Thorne is Director of Training and Mentoring at London City Mission and an experienced counselor. She is a trustee of Biblical Counselling UK and has written Purity is Possible, Walking with Domestic Abuse Suffers and 5 Things to Pray for Your City. She attends Dundonald Church in Raynes Park, London.