Last night was an amazing night for our group. It was so good to pour truth into our guys. Truth that they are capable, strong and loved. John and I drove away last night with our hearts full. Full because we got the opportunity to speak into our guys life in a very personal and real way. Young men need to hear words of affirmation from the men around them. They also sorely need a foot in the rear from time to time...but that is a different topic for another post.
Last night twelve young men received a sword from John, me and their parents as a reward for completing three challenges through their first year in TRANSIT. The first challenge was not insignificant and it involved the parents participation as well. Our guys had to accept responsibility for where God has placed them at this specific point in their life. That included looking inward and coming up with a list of responsibilities that they believed were most important to their success as a sixth grader and a member of their family. That list needed to be reviewed and prioritized with their parents. Once the list was finalized the son was to work on keeping those priorities in order and attended to for 30 days. The parents also participated by assigning a grade to their son at the end of each week. What a powerful challenge this was for our guys. Probably for the first time they had to look inward and make some changes and prioritize the responsibilities they have in life. Furthermore, the list will be a powerful tool that the parents can lean into as the seasons change in their sons life and their priorities change. The list is a great foundation to work from as a parent to teach discipline, responsibility, self assessment and respect for those around you.
The second challenge was a bit of an adventure but it also gave the fathers a chance to share their heart with their son. John and I blasted GPS coordinates out one Sunday afternoon and the first father/son team to make it to a specific park bench on the Big Creek hiking trails won a cash prize for the son. The Hufham's found the bench in record time (20 minutes) and claimed the prize. Underneath the bench was a special verse for the father and son to discuss as they sat their in God's glorious creation. Each father/son pair texted us a pic of them sitting at the bench together to signify the completion of Challenge #2. You can see some of these pics in the photo booth on our site.
The third and final challenge was scripture memorization. Once they completed the "GPS Challenge" (not everyone could get it done right away) they were immediately sent four verses to memorize. These four verses spoke to the four of our FIVE DIALS that we are trying to imprint on these young mens hearts (you can read more about the FIVE DIALS here). The final task of this challenge was to tell a story of adventure that spoke to their heart as a man and why it spoke to them. It could be from the Bible or it could be from a book they read or a movie they saw...it didn't matter, we just wanted to know why it spoke to them. Once they completed this challenge they earned a Gladius sword and twelve of our guys received the sword last night in a ceremony to kick off their 7th grade year.
I write all of this and to give you perspective over the our last year together as a group. All of that came together this morning when Mary Beth Kloiber sent me this picture...
Apparently TJ took those words to heart last night. You can see the plaque and the sword on his bed. For those who are reading this post who are not part of our group, John and I took the opportunity to give the guys a plaque with some words of truth on it so they would always remember the strength and goodness we see in them. TJ's words of affirmation were Leader, Loyal/Likable, Thoughtful, Laid Back (he has this easiness about him). This morning he got up and made his bed before school and placed his sword and the plaque on his first accomplishment of the day. TJ gets it. He served his mother by making his bed, he served our group by recognizing the importance and symbolism of the sword, he served John and me by putting the plaque on his bed and he served himself because he went to school that day knowing that no matter what happens he got the first task of every day out of the way and checked that box...no one can take that away from him.
My heart is full. Man...I love our guys. I love the families they represent and I love our church for giving us a platform to speak truth over these young men. They need it, they crave and they deserve. In Him...Saylor out.