I was reading a blog today and it totally derailed me from what I had thought I would blog about today. I had thought I would blog my reflections about the service from two weeks ago at church. I am still reflecting and mulling over that one. It was a good one but I guess the post will have to come later.
So I know this guy and I read his blog. He is pretty passionate about youth ministry but he also is a father of teenagers. He gets to see both sides of the process. He posted the following words here on his blog:
"Don’t be overwhelmed, my friend. We parents (well, at least most of us) don’t want to take all your time. We don’t want to change you. We are immensely grateful for how you bless us and our kid with your time and focus.
Just remember that we’re here, please. Remember that we care passionately about our children, and would sacrifice our own lives for them if necessary. Remember that we mean well, even though we’re not perfect. Remember that we’re afraid we’re not doing this well, and that our precious children are going to go off the deep end because of our inadequacies.
We don’t need you to reinvent your entire ministry to come hold our hands. But we need you to communicate with us. We need you to listen. We need you to be curious about our motives and assume good. We’d love you to tell us what you’re seeing about teenagers and youth culture and—especially—our own son or daughter.
If you do those things, we will be so blessed, so grateful, that we will forever be your biggest fan. We will speak highly of you, and praise you to all peoples!
Ok, I’m getting a little cheesy there. But you get the idea. From me—a dad—thanks. Really."
I wanted to cry after reading this. I struggle every week. I would do anything to convey to this kids how much Jesus loves them. How important communicating with Jesus is. How much I love and care for them. How important it is to be committed and devoted to Jesus is. How it, He, can totally change your life. How important and beautiful or handsome they are. I try so hard to let them know how much they are loved. That their ideas and feelings matter. I want so badly for them to grow into a deep relationship with Jesus.
But sometimes I wonder if what i do even makes a difference.
Every once in a while you get the glimpses that what you do makes a difference. But I can't say I've had a glimpse of that in a while.
There are several things I have learned in being a youth leader that I plan on putting into practice when my kids are in youth.
1. Say Thank you and say it often. A simple Thank you can go a long way. Saying thank you shows that you care that they are there investing in your child's life.
2. offer to watch the youth leaders kids while they are there investing in my child's life. I have learned that having your kids there in another room is very stressful and it's really hard to pay someone every week to watch your kids during youth. I feel like that's the least I could do when the youth leader is taking time from his family to convey to my child how much Jesus loves him or her and while teaching him what it is to be a follower of Jesus.