What did this mom do right?

CSMSG hosted a parenting seminar last night with Mark DeVries of Youth Ministry Architects. The topic was "Stacking the Stands for our Kids." Essentially, surrounding students with adults who care about them so that even when parents aren't seeming to have any traction in a kid's life, that kid can't go far without running into another adult who has his eternal future in mind.

One of the points that came out of a discussion on the movie "The Horse Whisperer" was that when moms are in trouble, they call Robert Redford.

Actually, that was a joke Mark made while talking about the movie. The point was in a story one mom told. "This student I teach," she began, telling us about a 12-year-old boy, "never really let on what he was feeling until one day we were working outside. Then, as we worked, he started to talk about all these things that were going on in his life, and I thought, 'I never knew he felt all that.'"

"When we got in the car to go home," she went on, "I realized I was going to have to learn to shoot baskets."

This mom did two things right, and they're important ones. She let a conversation happen where the student was comfortable, for one. She realized that her adult way of working out problems (talking about them, when talking about them was the whole activity) wasn't going to reach this student, who needs some third object to focus on in order to open up the deeper side of his brain. And she decided to adapt herself so she could meet the need in his life for someone who would listen, not insist that the child adapt to her style or talk to her next time on her terms.

Parents, when you hear someone say something like this and it's new to you, give it a try. It works. Not always right away, but play some ball and squish some bugs and you're practically in. Youth ministers, find out where this lady lives and go recruit her for your congregation, because she's figured out what it takes to get kids to open up, and put it into practice in her own life.

No comments: