Have you ever done something smart that turned out to be stupid? Have you ever made a good choice for yourself or others that seemed the best course of action, only for it to blow up in your face?
This 4-part series is based on something that happened to me when I was 5-years-old: the choices that followed, and the consequences of those choices that still resound today, both in memory and in lessons, for how I need to interact with the children in my life.
So… I remember going to my friend’s house to spend the night. I remember the drum set that his father and older brother shared. And I remember my friend’s brother getting in trouble with his father — something I had little experience with, and that terrified me. And in a moment when my fight-or-flight reflexes took hold, I chose to run home. After choosing to walk barefoot through nail-long and nail-strong stickers instead of walk in the street, I could go no further. The next thing I remembered was being swooped up into my friend’s mother’s arms and being carried home.
When my savior and I returned to my house, the lights were on but the door was locked. I remember waiting an eternity for my mother to open the door. In reality, it was probably only a few seconds, but it was an eternity that I waited. I know my memory of this moment has been tainted by time, but the way it plays in my mind’s eye: the door slowly opens and rays of warm light pour out from the opening — in the center of it all stood my mother. With a smile on her face and a soothing tone on her lips. She carried me into the bathroom and ran a warm bath to soak my feet in. She then went to work removing the thorns from my feet. It hurt, but I was home, and everything was finally okay.
All-in-all it’s a short story, but it ends well. Let’s look at a couple of lessons that we can learn from part 4.
There’s nothing like a mother’s/father’s love. When I am working with kids that aren’t my own it’s important that I remember that, while I may be able to help them, I am not their parent. I cannot bring them the peace that parents can. When large issues arise, I need to remember that children sometimes need their parents and I need to be okay with that.
Let’s look at it from the flip side. My kids know, and the entire staff at Destiny knows, that if my own children ever need me, or want me, for any reason what-so-ever, I am not too busy for them. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the middle of a lesson with the youth or leading worship on a Sunday morning. If my kids need me, they are the most important priority in my life.
There’s no place like home. I was tired. I was in pain. I felt the shame of defeat for not making it through my first sleepover. But I was home. I need to strive to create an atmosphere of safety, and comfort in my areas of the church. I want the students that come to Destiny to feel as though they are home. No matter what has happened to them this week, at home or at school, they can rest in the fact that Destiny is “home”.
One of my graduated youth kids joined the Air Force last spring. After basic, he went directly into a 6-month training program for his specialty. We didn’t see him until Christmas Eve. I was standing at the sound board, mixing Christmas Eve Service practice when he walked up next to me. After our initial greeting, and after I had once again turned my attention to the sound board, I heard him take a deep breath and sigh as he stood next to me. Then he said, “I missed this.” He was home.
Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comment’s section. Seriously! We’re all in this together.