Lots of things going through my mind right now.
We just returned from Garrett's state track meet. He finished 8th in the 100 and they were DQ'd, for a lane violation, in the 4x100. All in all they had a great time and the boy's team, which Garrett was on both the golf and track team, were the top academic team in the 1B state. Smart and athletic. As I was there with the students I realized again that we are so blessed to have such a great collection of young people. Zero issues while away, no relationships to watch, no bickering, just a group of kids who, for the most part, love Jesus and want to be good teammates and friends to those around them. God is so kind.
On a different note, but sort of the same, the entire relationship issue is back on my front porch. While I do not claim to have all the answers for all of life's questions I do have some history with young people and their struggles. In some ways it was a long time ago that I was young, though it seems like just yesterday, and in some ways I can't believe that my 3 bios are now grown up. T and I have been involved with the youth ministry of our church for some, I'm not exactly sure- maybe 13-14 year- and we have seen many similar things take place. Girls chasing boys and boys chasing girls. Sometimes parents pushing more than the students. I was a boy who chased a lot of girls and this makes me realize how hurtful this will be to these young men when they are old like I am now.
I have seen so many relationships turn out poorly that it makes me sad when I give a warning and the warning is discarded. I am not saying, again, that I have the corner on the market of wisdom here, I am saying that I have seen many, many of these relationships and almost every single one turns out the same way; student's hearts broken and parents no longer talking to each other because they think that it is always the other parent's fault that this has turned out poorly.
If your student is going through school, don't push them to have a date all the time, don't push them to always have a "special friend" that they can be exclusive with, don't rush the process that God can bring into focus perfectly if we just wait on Him. When the time is right, HE, not me or you, will bring it perfectly into place. When we rush ahead and try to make our own program, it seems like someone always gets hurt.
As a youth staff person, my "job" is to partner with parents who are trying to raise students who love Jesus more than anything or anyone else. It would be awesome to always have great partners in this process. That doesn't always happen and I am not always the best partner either- sin often gets in the way. I want to be open and available to assist in the process that so many desire to have more insight into. My dad always says that you can't help but get smart if you hang around in school all the time, and I guess that's the way I feel with the length of time we have spent with students- I can't help but learn something.
Bottom line- I want the young men in our ministry to love Jesus right now and until they go to Heaven. I want them to be able to resist temptation that so easily get them side tracked and girls are generally in that mix. I want them to set their affections on things that are above and not dwell in the lower lands of "Vanity Fair"- to keep their eyes fixed on the prize and run the race that is set out for them. I want them to be leaders; as there are lots of followers looking for someone to lead them. I want them to be Christ like men. That's what I want for me and that's also what I want for them.
Ours is a serious battle for the hearts of our young people and we must be taking that battle seriously. Many are trying to steal the hearts of our students and we need to watch and pray for their souls. Parents- that's your job and it's my job as a staff leader as well. I love my job:) Especially when we can hand them off to the next ministry and they are well prepared for what is coming.
Please pray for our students and the clay pots who are leading them.