Reading by Association

And for further reading today, I offer this article, linked from the Paragraph Farmer. One of the vital goals of youth ministry, in my mind, is to find and cultivate more parents who can do what this article describes.

A couple of quotes to set the scene:

"What we didn't know was that the older sister and the neighbor girl, who are in the same class at school, are not exactly on excellent terms. One is tall and strong, an athlete; the other is willowy and brainy, complete with smart-girl glasses. I suppose I should have thought; I should have remembered the awful self-consciousness of middle school girls, the cliques and the hurt feelings and the jockeying for position in the mysterious adolescent social order. But living with my blessedly oblivious daughter, who likes everyone and assumes everyone likes her, lulled me into forgetfulness."

"Jonathan can make two walls talk happily to each other. I have seen him put university deans at ease, and former drug addicts. But can he get two middle school girls to both feel comfortable?Jonathan goes out back. "Soccer time!" he announces, and divides them into teams. The smart girl is on the porch swing. "I'm not sure I want to play," she says.
"Have you ever played soccer?"
"Well... yes."
"On a real team?"
"Then you're one of the experts here. Come on, we need you.""

It takes a special kind of caring to know when the best way to reach a child is to play soccer, or eat a leaf, or on hearing "I can't shake hands, I have doughnut goo on mine" to respond "That's okay, I have germs on mine!" But these little things, when we mean them, and by them show we aren't trying to squish anyone into one specific mold, can tip the scale between two guys playing basketball outside the church and worshipping with me in the sanctuary.

No comments: