Certain movies seem timeless, affecting generations that weren’t even alive when they debuted.
The Breakfast Club is one of those films. I’d describe it to you, but you’ve either already seen it or will when it’s on TBS in the next ten minutes. There’s something about its premise that speaks to everyone, even if you’ve never served a Saturday detention service in a Chicago suburban school.
(For the record, I have. That’s another story.)
There’s a defining moment around two-thirds of the way into the film when Claire, Andy, Allison, Brian, and Bender sit in a circle and reveal what’s going on inside of them. What you may not know is that scene was not scripted. Director John Hughes told the actors to ad-lib it as they each saw their character within that specific scene and the larger plot.
Think about how amazing that is, whether we’re talking about the real-life actors or the fictional characters they play. They were all able to tap into a shared experience that is so powerful and transparent that even students today can relate to this scene. By taking a moment to share how much they each feel like a target, they momentarily stopped making targets of each other.
It’s one of the reason why I’m a huge fan of serving opportunities, be it mission trips or local projects. I’m even gearing up even now to lead yet another round of the Big Day of Serving in Akron, Ohio the first weekend in October. What we do together on a Saturday unites students from all over the place with a “Breakfast Club” sort of vibe, minus the negative stuff:
· There is a plot: The whole day is anchored to God, from rallies that celebrate Him to lunch-time devotions that unpack what it means to follow Christ.
· There is a scene: I’ve been meeting with the Mayor’s office to create a list of before-and-after service projects that students will show up to and take part in.
· There is a shared experience: Youth groups bond with other youth groups, knowing we’re making a difference together doing something none of us could accomplish on our own.
· There is room to ad-lib: Students have a voice in some of what they’ll do and who they’ll do it with, but also are stretched in healthy ways that will prod them to reveal what’s going on inside of them.
Kids are going to bond over something. Many will settle for the pseudo-community of social media. Some will open up over six-pack of beers in the back of a pickup truck or a baggie full of weed passed around their circle of friends. Others will join into a relational circle that defines them in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions: “a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess or a criminal.”
Why not instead give them something timeless? Help them understand what it means to be human by exposing them to what it means to be God’s.
“Did I stutter?”
Thank you for loving students!