Student Not a Student a.k.a. Games Youth Pastors Play

Thursday, June 11, 2009
"Okay, is that guy in high school, or is he as old as he looks? He acts 16 but looks 26. I just don't know."

That was a common thought in my head last Friday. I had the privilege of being at an amazing event for high school students, but I was having the hardest time counting heads. I counted four times before giving up and estimating. It wasn't because everyone was moving around so much. It was because I couldn't tell whether a number of students were in high school, or if they were adults there as chaperons.

It was confusing, and awkward.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone, and the entire time you were unable to focus on what they were saying because you were trying to figure out how old they are?

I find myself playing the "Student not a Student" game. The rules are simple. You pick a member of the crowd and guess if they are a student or an adult.

This seems to be happening more and more. My wife would say it's because I'm getting old. True, typically at a youth rally 98% of the people are younger than I am. However, playing "Student not a Student" is nothing new. One day in high school my friends and I spent a week thinking that a new classmate was a new teacher.

I don't want to go all Jerry on you, but what's the deal with the 17 year olds looking 26 and the twenty five year olds looking 16?

Here are some tips I've come up with to tell.

- Ask them to moon walk. If they do it they're "Not a Student" if they look at you like you're from the moon then they're a "Student."
- Watch the Mosh Pit. If the individual tires after three or four jumps they're "Not a Student" if they last an entire song and still have energy for a second they may be a "Student" but it's tricky a secondary test is needed
- Observe the Mosh Pit Exit. Does the subject leave the pit under duress only to sit on the side for 20 minutes breathing into a paper bag? Definitely "Not a Student." Do they sprint out grab a slice of pizza and had back in? "Student"
- Ask how they got their iPhone. First off, do they have an iPhone? I don't. If they do they're probably not a pastor. If they paid for it themselves then mostlikely they're "Not a Student." If their parents paid for it then most likely you can ask what grade they are in.
- Use words you don't know the meaning of but think students would use. If the subject responds in kind then they are "Not a Student." The possible responses of a "Student" are too many to list. Chances are, if they do anything other than respond in kind, they are a "Student."
-Do you detect the musty smell of dried baby spit up on them or detect a last minute spot wash. Chances are a "Not a Student" only has one or two good youth rally outfits. If they have kids there is a grate likelihood that they were puked on moments before going out the door. That leaves no time to change, if there even is something clean and rally worthy to change into, and barely time to spot wash. Is one patch slightly cleaner than the rest? Is there a fait smell of sour milk about them? If yes then most likely "Not a Student" or a sloppy eater. If no most likely "Student."
- Ask a student you know for help. This is ultimately my go to move. It has never failed. Somehow studetns can always tell. They must have some sort of radar for it. As good as the moon walk test is, it can be foiled. This test is sound.

Hope this helps.

Here's wishing that everyone just looked thier age. Well, at least for now.


ken said...

Chris, this is brilliant. You should send this post into youth specialties for publication, bro.