Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The last several weeks I have been serving the youth at my church on Wednesday nights during a special event known as Big Switch. These nights are loud and raucous with literally hundreds of youth running around. My 11 year old son at first was very much against my serving since this was “his night” to be without mom or dad and have fun. On my part, I felt bad just dropping him off and wanted to find a way to contribute. I am not one of those drop and run kind of parents and I do love working with youth. The deal we worked out was that I would stay as far a way from him as possible during the evening. (We actually had a big laugh about this one together)

The students who participate run the full circle of the social and economic ladder of our community and goodness am I glad to have the teenage years well behind me. I have found the messages presented to be particularly powerful and I get as much or more out them as the kids do.

Two weeks ago the students were asked to write down on a card something they were dealing with that they would like to turn over to God. No names required—just write it down. As volunteers, we were asked to stand at the front of the audience and be available to pray with those kids that wanted it.

Two students approached me for prayer. I was a little overwhelmed to think these kids would have the courage to walk up to a complete stranger and have prayer over their most intimate issue. I chose to not read the card at the time and to instead just pray with the student and uplift the issue together to Jesus. Later when I read what was on the card my heart just broke. The issues were different for each but there was one commonality.

Both had deep pain that was in their mind ultimately being caused by their parent. As a dad, this was just a stark in my face reminder again of the impact I have on the life of my child and how eternally important it is that I do everything I can to be the best possible parent that I am capable of being. Yes I have made a lot of mistakes and I know I will make many more but at least I am out there trying to learn and to improve.

Clearly very few parents have come to this same realization. Most, I will argue operate in the blind spot and have no idea the mistakes they are making and pain they are causing. This pain has potential to be passed down to generations to come. Something has got to change.

Are you a parent?

What are you doing to equip yourself for this ultimate job? Do you have mentor? Do you read books? What is your strategy?

More to come……


  1. Great post, David. I ever glad you decided to come serve at Switch. Just think...the prayers you prayed over those boys may have everlasting impact! See you tonight! ~Robin

  2. You know I've been thinking about my parenting skills a lot lately, my wife being pregnant. I haven't figured out whether it is an advantage or not, but with two grown children already 20 and 25 I have a unique opportunity to look back and ask them questions about what they think I did right or wrong as they grew up. As someone who thinks he can always do better, I hope I can raise this new son with compassion, faith and ethics and still keep him as a friend.

    Good blog David

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  4. David thanks for the great post!

  5. It's your sister - Angie. I love your blog. It says many of the things "so far" that I've said in teaching parenting seminars. Many people have said time and time again that you can't be their friend AND their parent.My thought on that is "clearly you haven't tried" because indeed you can. They are going to be curiuos and scared and every other emotion they can name ( and most emotions they can't) and while this is going on they are 100% going to talk to someone about it. The question I ask my parents is..."do you want it to be you...or don't you?" Because if you don't then keep doing what you're doing and go ahead and let someone else do it for you but then later be prepared to have a child that leans on someone else, and likely will need to go to someone else to be healed when normally a loving home can heal most wounds.

    Maybe we should give some parenting seminars with your church - Dave. I have some great Art Therapy exercises. Next time you do come over remind me to show you some of the pix I have from some of the kids I will want to literally cry when you see the pain these children had. GROWN men and women do these types of damage to these small little helpless human beings that are born to know nothing but loving and nurturing. Very sad.