DON’T JUST SEND YOUR KIDS
This post is less of an article and more of a report. Cheryl, Kristin and I just returned from a youth rally in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Cheryl and I were the chaperones for 10 middle and high school students who went to the event.
A youth rally is a spiritually-based youth event. There are lessons, Bible classes and singing for the youth, as well as fun activities. Two dynamic speakers did keynote lessons and taught classes for the youth, and one middle-aged guy (me :) taught the adult classes (on Proverbs). On Friday night we had 287 people in attendance (youth and adult sponsors) and this morning (Sunday) we had 405 people.
The weekend was motivating. The theme was on "shame" and the speakers encouraged us to take any shame-based activity or attitude to the cross where Jesus will cover us (I’ll have a post about this later on Family Fountain). Numerous youth responded to an invitation for prayer on Sunday.
The weekend was uplifting. A dynamic young song leader from Tennessee flew in to lead the worship. He led us in songs that stirred the heart and soul. Additionally, we had a 60-member high school chorus from Denver, CO sing for about 45 minutes. I was moved to tears a couple of times by these outstanding kids.
The weekend was bonding. Cheryl and I got to see old friends that we ministered with years ago in Wyoming. But we also got to spend the weekend with our high school daughter and our son, Wes. Wes is the youth minister for the church in Cheyenne that hosted the youth rally. He organized the youth rally, chose the speakers and worship leader, and MC-ed the event. We were proud of how he did!
Dads, I would have missed out on this motivating, uplifting and bonding activity if I sent my daughter to the youth rally (with her mom and other chaperones) but didn’t attend myself. There are always numerous tasks awaiting us at home, such as cleaning the garage, replacing shingles and fixing trim. But, can any of these things compare with the benefit of attending a spiritual or family activity with our own kids?
I was glad to see dozens of dads at the youth rally with their teenagers. A lot of concerned fathers want their children to receive positive, religious instruction and influence at church and other spiritual events, but too often they leave the guidance and oversight of this spiritual training to the moms. This is certainly a mom’s responsibility, too, but ideally it should be in partnership with dad.
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). One way to provide the training and instruction of our children is to not just send them to spiritual events, but to take them ourselves and participate with them. We’ll find that the experience enriches us every bit as much as our kids.