Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Next Generation of Leaders

As I write this blog, I am just thinking about the next generation of leaders that is coming up today. And I have opinions. From my perspective. With zero research. Okay, some research. I have read some, heard some, and talked to many. Lots of observation. But really this is just a no-footnote-stream of consciousness from me.

And it isn't a rant. Why would anyone rant on a blog? /sarcasm

I am just a little concerned.

Sometimes I think we bail our kids out too easily. I was telling the parent life group on Sunday that my dad bailed me out of a difficult situation when I was in high school. And I'm not sure he did me a favor. Now he did make me work through it later, and I was actually glad he defended me at the time. But, too often as kids our parents come to the rescue, perhaps a little too quickly. Maybe it's dressing down the coach that doesn't see the talent that in their child that is so obvious to dad and mom. Perhaps it's the teacher that treats their child unfairly but favors all the other kids. Or it could be the friend problems that we step into and turn into a moms issue. Or whatever. And it starts early. Believe me, if I have learned anything so far in parenthood, it's that! I so often want to not let my daughter learn the hard way. Even when she can't finish a puzzle I just want to rip it out of her hands and finish it for her.

But the lesson is often in the struggle.

We have to let our kids struggle a little. I see it in our youth group. Kids get crossways with one another. So one kid eventually stops coming. And parents allow it. "It's just too hard for Amy to be there with Susie shooting arrows of hate at my daughter across the youth room while you're trying to teach about loving one another."

And I get it. I don't want my daughter getting hurt either. I didn't say it was easy. I just said it was right. Help your kids. Impart wisdom upon them. But don't be too quick to bail them out. Let them work through some of their battles. Maybe they stay in the Science class with Mr. Hatesmyson until the end of the semester. Perhaps it will prepare them for college when Dr. Picksonme and his colleage Dr. Flunkseveryonewholooksathimfunny are the only two options for a class in his major. Or they keep coming to D Groups even though it isn't always comfortable due to her perception of how she is viewed by the other girls. Walk with them but don't always show them the exit. Sometimes it comes to that, yes. But maybe we pull the ripcord too quickly sometimes. And the lesson learned is not a positive one.

I am reading a book (I would tell you what it is, but that would break my "no footnote" or citation rule). In that the author, who is in his mid-30s, talks about how he quit 6 jobs in 8 years. (That is a clue for the title of the book) Why? Too hard. Interpersonal conflict. He said this is a characteristic of this next generation. We quit too easily. 

So, to end with, let me encourage you.Trust in yourself. You are good parents! In our youth ministry, I see parents balancing this whole conflict/struggle thing very well. And I hope you are the ones I can emulate when my daughter reaches drama age. Or at least THAT drama age (she is at the one right now where if she can't get her toy to obey her, she lays on the floor and screams). God will give you the wisdom you need. And better yet, He will take care of your children which were His children first.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God. - James (1:5)