Young People Ask . . .
How Can I Have a Good Time?
“I feel we do get to do a lot of fun things. In our congregation we make a real effort to get together. We get to have fun that is wholesome. Most kids in the world can’t say that.”—Jennifer.
RECREATION—everybody needs it from time to time. The World Book Encyclopedia says that recreation may even make “an important contribution to an individual’s mental and physical health.” Why, the Bible itself says that there is “a time to laugh,” that is, a time to enjoy oneself!—Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4.*
The word “recreation” is derived from a Latin term that means “to create anew, restore, refresh.” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary) Sad to say, many of the things young people do for “fun”—such as wild partying or engaging in drug and alcohol abuse or illicit sex—are not really refreshing at all, but destructive. Finding recreational activities that are both enjoyable and wholesome can therefore be a real challenge. But as Jennifer, quoted at the outset, indicates, it can be done!
Doing Things Together
Recently Awake! interviewed a number of young people on this subject. Most said that they enjoy getting together with other youths. Do you feel the same way—but often find yourself without an invitation? Then why not take the initiative? A South African girl named Leigh, for instance, says: “If I’m keen on seeing a certain movie, I phone one of my friends, and we spread the word to our other friends.” Usually they attend an early showing of the movie. Afterward, their parents pick them up, and together they eat out at a local restaurant.
Sports activities also present opportunities for healthful exercise and wholesome association. (1 Timothy 4:8) Young Roelien says: “First I discuss with my family where I want to go, and then we invite a small group to join us.” Indeed, Christian youths have discovered an impressive array of wholesome sports they can participate in with others: skating, bicycling, jogging, and playing tennis, baseball, soccer, and volleyball, to name just a few.
No, you don’t need to spend a lot of money or invest in fancy equipment to have a good time. “My parents, friends, and I have spent many pleasurable hours hiking in the nearby mountains and wilderness areas,” says one teenage Christian girl. “Just being out in the fresh air with good friends is so enjoyable!”
Social Gatherings That Upbuild
For many youths, however, fun means attending social gatherings. “We enjoy having friends over to eat and to listen to music,” says young Aveda. Social gatherings have their place among Christians. Jesus Christ himself attended special meals, weddings, and other social gatherings. (Luke 5:27-29; John 2:1-10) Early Christians likewise enjoyed occasions when they got together for meals and upbuilding association.—Compare Jude 12.
If your parents allow you to host a gathering, what can you do to avoid problems and to ensure a good time for everyone? Careful planning is the key. (Proverbs 21:5) To illustrate: It makes sense to invite only as many of your friends as can be supervised properly. Smaller gatherings are less likely to turn into “revelries,” or “wild parties.”—Galatians 5:21; Byington.
Christians in the first century were warned to avoid socializing with those “walking disorderly.” (2 Thessalonians 3:11-15) And a surefire way to wreck a gathering today is to invite youths who are known for being rowdy and uncontrollable. While you want to be careful about whom you invite, don’t limit yourself to the same circle of friends. “Widen out,” and get to know some others, including older ones, in the congregation.—2 Corinthians 6:13.
Will you serve refreshments? If so, they do not have to be lavish or expensive for your guests to have a pleasant time. (Luke 10:38-42) “Sometimes we have pizza night,” says Sanchia, a girl from South Africa. Guests will often volunteer to bring a few items.
What are some things you can do at a gathering—besides simply watching TV, listening to music, or conversing? “We usually plan the evening in advance,” says Sanchia. “We’ve played games or had someone play the piano, so we could sing songs together.” An African youth named Masene says: “We sometimes play cards, draughts [checkers], and chess.”
Jennifer, quoted earlier, told Awake!: “We have an elder in our congregation who invites us over to play Bible games. You have to have good Bible knowledge in order to play well.” The Awake! representative asked other youths: “Don’t you think that playing Bible games is out of place?” They virtually shouted the answer, “No!”
“It’s challenging,” said one teenage girl. “It’s fun!” said another. When Bible games are played for fun, and the spirit of competition is kept in check, they can be pleasant and educational!—See “Making Get-Togethers Enjoyable yet Beneficial,” in the June 22, 1972, issue of Awake!
In Bible times it was not unusual for families to enjoy some forms of recreation together. (Luke 15:25) However, the young authors of The Kids’ Book About Parents observe that “parents and kids are so busy these days that no one has the time to plan activities . . . We think that it is important for parents and kids to make sure to spend some time together each week doing activities that are simply fun.”
“Friday is our family day,” says an African youth named Paki. “We usually play games together.” And let’s not forget your siblings. Young Bronwyn says: “I enjoy drawing and doing other artistic things with my younger sister.” Could you take the initiative and suggest some fun activity to do with your family?
When You’re All Alone
What if you are alone? That does not mean you have to be bored and lonely. There are many productive, enjoyable ways to use such periods of time. Hobbies, for example. Since Bible times men and women have found the study of music to be enriching. (Genesis 4:21; 1 Samuel 16:16, 18) “I play the piano,” says Rachel. “It’s something you can do when you’re bored.” If you’re not musically inclined, you might enjoy taking up sewing, gardening, stamp collecting, or learning a foreign language. As a bonus, you may even develop some skills that will prove useful in later years.
The Bible tells us that men of faith, like Isaac, sought periods of solitude for meditation. (Genesis 24:63) A young Austrian man named Hans says: “Occasionally, I just go out to a quiet place in the garden and sit down to watch a sunset. This brings me much joy and helps me to feel closer to my God, Jehovah.”
“Enjoyment” in Jehovah’s Service
The Bible prophesied that Christ would find “enjoyment” in serving Jehovah God. (Isaiah 11:3) And while sacred service to God is not really recreation, it can be refreshing and gratifying.—Matthew 11:28-30.
Hans, quoted earlier, recalls another enjoyable experience. He says: “My friends and I like to remember those weekends we spent working on the construction site of an Assembly Hall [for worship]. We learned how to work together, and we got to know one another better. Looking back, we have the satisfying feeling that we did something worthwhile that was also fun.”
The testimony of these Christian youths makes one fact dramatically clear: You do not have to miss out on having a good time. Follow Bible principles. Be imaginative! Take healthy initiatives! You will find that you can enjoy yourself in ways that will build you up and not tear you down.
See the article “Young People Ask . . . Why Do Other Youths Have All the Fun?” in our July 22, 1996, issue.
[Blurb on page 22]
“Just being out in the fresh air with good friends is so enjoyable!”
[Picture on page 23]
You do not have to spend a lot of money to have a good time with friends