Pressures to succeed can result in psychological symptoms that are characteristic of eating disorders. In our research, we found that competitiveness was related to body dissatisfaction among female athletes, and that external pressures are related to symptoms of eating disorders. Today's females receive mixed messages from society that recognize the importance of  participation in athletics and reward them for maintaining a fit body and having physical power, but at the same time perpetuate a cultural ideal valuing thinness, bust size, waist size, even the kind of makeup they wear and their hairstyles. Athletes who are subject to excessive criticism or are seldom praised may perceive themselves as not good enough or unworthy. One 2000 study found, unfortunately, that some coaches view potential eating disorders symptoms such as excessive exercise, perfectionism, over-compliance, and competitiveness, as desirable. Another 2000 study found that some parents view a strong desire to please others, namely themselves, as a healthy trait in their children. Children whose parents rarely approve or inconsistently approve of their accomplishments are more likely to obsess about perfection in order to assure that they receive parental approval.
Athletes whose parents expect them to perform at a high level may learn to do well in order just to receive more praise or avoid excessive criticism. Individuals with symptoms of eating disorders are more likely to seek approval from others, even if such approval is unattainable or must be obtained through harmful means.
Because individuals with symptoms of eating disorders often strive for success in order to please others, they are more likely to worry about social acceptance, feel inadequate, spend time thinking about personal inadequacies, and be dependent on others.
Athletes playing sports in less competitive environments and thus subject to less competitive pressure are less likely to have disturbed eating patterns and body dissatisfaction. Pressure to compete with peers in terms of appearance has been linked to eating patterns in adolescents.. College females who compare themselves to peers or celebrities are more likely to experience increased body dissatisfaction, especially if their focus is on weight and body size. Help athletes to experience satisfaction and approval from knowing that they have done a good job and tried their best. Help athletes stay healthy by educating them about eating disorders, nutrition, and healthy eating habits. Education, youth liberation, and faith have been inextricably linked in the Black American faith experience. Youth Sunday provides the church contemporary opportunities to allow youth leadership to grow and to be nurtured by a loving and supportive community.
Further, Youth Sunday provides an opportunity for our young people to showcase the gifts they have been blessed to receive. Without a doubt, there are a wide variety of ways Youth Sundays are crafted throughout the country and across denominations.
Over the course of the last several weeks, young people were asked to tweet or text me songs that they would envision using in a Youth Sunday worship service.3 They were told that their suggestions would be used for others around the country looking for cultural resources on how to build positive self-esteem in young people. This song is excellent for helping young people hear a positive message about the ways in which we can live a golden life blessed by the Eternal Provider. The young people who recommended this song thought that it would be great to use during times of prayer. This song was recommended as a potential selection that could be used for liturgical dance and for helping each of us realize that we are "marching to Zion," that beautiful place that is both beyond and within us. Young people have listened to this song across all genders and have found it to be empowering and deeply connected with our mission as Christians to help each and every person move from darkness into the light of God's love.
This selection is a Youth Sunday classic in that we all are seeking to fly on the wings of God that support us and uplift us daily. As previously stated, young people, through Youth Sundays, are expressing themselves and their faith in relation to the larger societal context. These pictures, along with others, could be shown during a youth dance performance, during the Spoken Word, and throughout a worship service.
Black churches have often been the place for the intersections of social justice, activism, and faith. We encourage the youth in our churches to think about the first time that they fell in love with Jesus Christ, and to ask, What did this love feel like in your soul?
As adult allies, it is important that we are open to meeting young people at their places of need. Instructions: Allow the young people at your church to settle in and explain that they will be silently flipping through magazines and choosing pictures that respond to the questions below. When everyone has completed their vision boards, ask them to reflect on what they have created, how it speaks to them, and what they have in common with other young people, and ask if there are Scriptures that they can use to guide them on their faith journey and their developmental journey. I am    from ________(specific ordinary item), from                        (product name) and                 (product name).
I am from the                           (home description)                 (adjective)                                (adjective)                  (sensory detail). I am from the ________ (plant, flower, natural item)                         (the plant, flower, natural item)                                  (description of the natural item). I'm from the                            (family and tradition) from                            (family tradition)                                              (family tradition), from                       (name of family member)                    (name of another family member). I'm from the ______(description of family tendency) and from the                          (description of another family tendency) from                        (something you are told often) and                                        (something else you are told often).

I'm from                      (belief that represents where you are from)                (further description of belief).
I'm from                      (family ancestry), and                          (two items that represent your family).
From the                                   (specific family story about a specific person and a detail) the                                              (another detail of another family member). Fill each line with "My voice is _____________" using words from the brainstorming session (or their own) to generate sentences. Create a Youth Sunday and youth liberation playlist on Spotify, YouTube, or Pandora that can be accessed by all of your young people.
The event, happening on Saturday, September 27, 2014, will feature candid discussions, workshops, presentations by experts and those that have faced the issue themselves. Weston is encouraging people of all ages to come out, but also wants to stress the importance of getting help immediately if you or someone you know is depressed or considering harming themselves. For more information on the conference, visit the MYN Facebook page or call Tony Weston directly at (313) 408-9506. Get New Posts In Your EmailEnter your email address:We will never sell or hand out your email address. Stiles is an associate professor of sociology at Midwestern State University where she focuses on  gender, social psychology, and medical sociology. These special days throughout the year allow young people to truly live and embody their faith and theology in ways that are inspiring to us all. It is important to allow young people to bring their most authentic selves to church so that they and communities can be transformed. It must be noted that these were young people who were deeply involved in their church communities spanning to those who were not and had not been involved for years.
It helps them develop self-esteem by hearing lyrics that celebrate the beauty of blackness. It is clear, however, that since the early 1900s, Youth Sundays in black churches have been linked with social justice, activism, and youth leadership development through the building of positive self-esteem. Youth are called into a deeper understanding of themselves and a deeper commitment to the work of justice. The pictures below would be great for conversation, study, and worship as we look at creating space for a wide variety of young people who are capable youth leaders. It is recommended that these pictures be distributed during the service on social media platforms to spark conversation across generations and in the broader community. This would be great to show in service as young people either open or close the worship service. Our churches provide an opportunity for social action, theological reflection and faith development to occur. In Harford County, Maryland, Black Youth in Action (BYA) is a group of young people and adult allies who work to create positive environments in their churches, schools, and communities and support the building of self-esteem. In order to take the learning "home," there are a couple of recommendations I received directly from young people.
It is important to note that young people of color are especially moved by Spoken Word performances. We must stretch to create inclusive and positive environments where everyone feels safe, valued, and affirmed. Among this collection of magazines, make sure there are magazines that show positive images of young people. Create a playlist of positive and uplifting music (perhaps choosing from some of the songs above) that will be the background music for their time together. With the capabilities of social media, folk who are listening at the time will be able to share their experiences and how these songs have sustained their faith over the course of a week. Ideas adopted from Black Organizers for Leadership and Dignity retreat, February 2013, at the Franklinton Center in Bricks, North Carolina. It is recommended that these songs be added via Amazon MP3, Spotify, or Pandora so that they can be shared by young people on their social media accounts.
These responses were collected on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook between March 20–29, 2013. They are stressing that although the coming of age process can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to lead to debilitating hopelessness or a tragic end. Surgeon General’s office suggests, “Suicide is our most preventable form of death.” While the issue touches all age groups, more teenagers die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, flu and chronic lung disease combined.
Former news anchor Frank Turner is the keynote, saying he got involved to give back and offer hope to students. It is also during these Sundays that young people come to love God in an intimate way, that young people can truly express their faith in ways that are authentic, and, most importantly, on these Sundays young people can come to love themselves more or for the first time as their self-esteem as called and equipped leaders of the Most High God is nurtured.
The observance of a Youth Sunday, whether it is once a year, once a quarter, or once a month, calls the people of God to continually re-examine our faith and our gifts for ministry. We often allow the young people to share songs from their everyday experiences that speak to their sense of self and their spiritual journeys. However, the lyrics can be partly adapted to show the amazing love of God and the sweetness of salvation.

When the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded, young people contributed to the activism, organizing, and life of the organization. Their embodied theology and spiritual expression becomes ways to interrupt the cycle of oppression. We encourage you to ask your young people to look in magazines, newspapers, blog sites (such as Tumblr and WordPress), Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+ to also find art work, quotes, and pictures that speak to crafting positive self-esteem for Youth Sunday.
Youth of color are being called into spaces where they can enhance their community organizing skills and school-based organizing skills. Ray Dancy in Norwalk, Connecticut, works with youth in their quest to end the School-to-Prison Pipeline. The events and mentoring that occur in BYA was an extension of the creativity youth brought to the forefront of their churches on Youth Sundays. There was an "orange" flavor that swept the youth nation as Frank Ocean released his channel ORANGE CD. How does it feel to move from this place of liberation as you build a positive life and work to make your community better? Throughout the week, during Sunday school, and during Christian education opportunities, allow the young people to express themselves creatively through a variety of art forms. One recommendation for creating a memorable learning moment is to walk young people through a workshop on developing their own poetry that focuses on positive self-esteem, faith, and youth liberation. An upcoming conference put on by the Mentoring Youth Network (MYN) hopes to provide students, dealing with the issues, alternatives, hope and answers. Youth Sunday becomes a catalyst for exploring new ways to express the messages of the faithful. The songs below are not "traditional" church songs but are songs that effortlessly connect our faith stories in modern contexts. The young people who walk into our churches are a part of a global community of Christian believers who have dedicated their lives to Christian service. Du Bois was very clear in making sure the young people were critical parts of the struggle towards liberation and equality. The cycle of oppression teaches our young people stereotypes of those who have agent identities (those with social power, i.e.
There is a critical mass of young people at his church who have committed to learning about their faith through this lens of social justice. The CD was refreshing and provided insight into the minds and feelings of many of our young people.
Below, you will find examples of poems and other creative art projects that have been used by youth groups across the country. After these pieces have been collected over a period of a few weeks (or even during a Confirmation period), there can be a Youth Poetry Slam or Coffeehouse to showcase their work.
That bit of sobering information gives us an idea of how pervasive the challenge is, particularly for young people.
The Black Church has and will always be a place for helping young people to understand this Cycle of Socialization10 and the ways in which their social identities are formed and shaped. On many occasions, Du Bois was known to visit churches and talk with preachers and lay persons to encourage them to create positive supports for the youth.
Youth Sundays become an opportunity not only to showcase gifts and talents but also to call the church community to action and end the social injustices that disproportionately affect youth of color. When Frank Ocean was asked about why he titled the CD ORANGE, he said that the color orange reminded him of the summer he fell in love as well as the color of happiness when he was a child. In addition, allowing our young people to lead calls us into ministry each day of the week as we look to being our most authentic selves so that communities and souls are transformed.1 This moment in our church worship is a pause, as adults recognize and appreciate the gifts of this new generation of spiritual leaders. In black churches, the role of the church community is to provide positive support systems to counteract the negative socialization young people receive in the broader society. While in New York City, Du Bois encountered many young people and encouraged them to share their gifts and skills, often through the oral expression of their writing. But, on Youth Sundays, young people begin to gain self-worth and appreciate themselves in a new light by having their gifts uplifted for the glory of God.
Their collective witness motivates us all into daily action around our commitments to truth, justice, and liberation.
Church service and communities became sites for youth of color to receive positive reinforcement of their identity. They may even begin to examine the societal prejudices and discrimination they have faced, particularly in school systems. The church becomes that site of liberation and a space for the sharing of the stories that have shaped their realities.
In the sharing of their stories and connecting with others inter-generationally, the cycle of oppression is slowly dismantled.

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