For years I've looked forward to the day that my sons would be involved in my ministry with great anticipation. What I didn't expect to happen was the onset of puberty to make MY kid crazy. I've told many parents over the last 12 years that the swings in mood, growth and friction are perfectly normal. The words rolled off my tounge so easy. I'm afraid I even walked away from some of those conversations actually thinking I helped- #sigh #gasp
Now I'm looking a milestone dead in the eyes this summer. My son will be at the camp I'm speaking at-as a CAMPER. As the dates have drawn closer I can honestly say I'm sweating it a bit. My youngest brother and sister will also be jr high attending campers. My parents were divorced when I was young. Mom remarried and had two great kids. She told us they were pregnant with their first on our wedding day. When My wife and I were blessed with our first my mother and wife were both pregnant at the same time with boys. Many of the stories that surface as I speak with kids deal with my difficult Jr high years and my parents divorce. Both my mother and wife have been questioning me about my talks this summer at camp. The uniqueness of this situation has pushed me to think differently on some things.
As I've been kicking around thoughts as a parent of kids going to camp I'm challenging myself on many thoughts I used to have as professional :) camp staffer. So, as I'm experiencing a middle school kid living in my house I'm mulling a few things over that I'm not done processing yet but would love to throw out there. Here ya go!
Nothing is more encouraging than positive feedback on my kid from another adult in their lives.
You can do amazing things for me and I'll be grateful, if you do the smallest thing to show interest in my kid I'll NEVER forget the genuine effort!
As a parent I'm confronted with the reality that: We are scared. We don't want to mess our kids up and we second guess ourselves constantly. We know we are not supposed to parent out of reaction to our up bringing or other outside factors, but sometimes we do anyway.
I want to land on the side of quanity time not quality time. Planned quality time seems to blow up in our faces. With quality, there are better chances that some of it will be quality.
This summer, have fun! But please challenge my kid, they might be in to more stuff and deeper stuff than we want to admit.
If you are working with middle school kids and don't have kids of your own, don't feel unequipped or without the necessary tools to make HUGE impact. Be mindful of some of these emotions parents are wrestling through and take them seriously.