I miss those days … desperately.
Why am I telling you this? Because I’m not alone. I’m not the only parent struggling with watching their son or daughter getting older.
As a former student pastor, I walked with countless parents through this stage and many others.
Now that I’m a parent, I’ve realized there are some key things that a student minister can do to walk beside me during this transitional time of our lives.
1. Have my back.
I know you don’t have all the answers. I don’t need you to. I just need to know that you got us! Don’t cut our legs out from under us with things like “Well if it were up to me you could …” or “In my house we do it this way…”
Even if you disagree with a decision we make, give us the benefit of the doubt and understand that we are doing our best. Come talk to us privately if you have questions – but don’t sell us out in public.
2. Understand that I’m going to mess up.
Here’s the truth: I have no idea what I’m doing. When I was a teen I thought my parents had all the answers. Now I realize that they were just doing the best they could. They dealt with things as they came.
That’s exactly where I am. I’m trying to lead with the end in mind. But things come up. Stuff happens. And we react. We pray. And try to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. But we fail so much … at least it feels like that.
We want our kids to grow in the Lord and follow His leading for their lives. Period. But we are human, too. So when I do mess up and our son or daughter comes to you … just understand our viewpoint and take what they say (and we’re glad they’re coming to you) with a grain of salt.
3. I’m your biggest fan.
During my days of student ministry I so often felt like parents were out to get me … judging me. I understand now that was all in my head. I am so thankful for you. Maybe you know this, but maybe you don’t!
I am so thankful for you. Let me say that one more time … I am SO thankful for you.
I see the hours you put in. I see all the love and prayers you pour into my child. I know how hard it can be … how draining. And yet you do it anyway.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
We need you. We need all that you’ve been gifted to do. We need your lessons and games and jokes and Tweets and prayers and words. We need you.
Just know that.
So if you ever start to feel like I’m “out to get you,” it’s not the truth. We might butt heads sometimes, but I really am your biggest fan. How could I not be? You’re helping to lead my kids closer to Jesus!