Thursday, September 9, 2010

What do they want?

It is again that time of year for Awana to begin. It is a club that meets all across our land in churches every Wednesday night. It is a time where children of all ages come to learn about Christ, themselves and how to be the young person God is calling them to be.
I now am teaching the JV class again, or Trek. I have kids aging from eleven to fourteen. At this age that is a huge difference in age. You must be careful in what you share and how you share. So, this brings me to my question. What is it that they want, or more importantly, what is they need? Sometimes, I don't really think they know what they want much less what they need. I do know they need adults willing to reach out and be honest. Last night in class, I shared with my kids what it is that I expect of them. Then I in turn ask, "What is it that you expect of me?" It is when you ask that question, that they seem to go blank. I don't think it is a question we ask often enough. Just as they sit in school each day they are being told to be respectful, obedient, and to pay attention to the teacher. To be quiet and do as they are told, but what about what they are seeking from that teacher? Do they need someone who gives just a little, or is ready to give all? They don't need someone to compare them to another, but accept them where they are. They don't need teachers to judge them, they surely get that enough from other kids. They don't need someone to stand over them, but one to sit beside them, just enjoying the time they have together.

As we had class last night there were a few who wanted to push to see how far they could go. I think they realized that will not be very far. But we must remember to talk to young people on a level they can understand. We must be willing to relate to them. We cannot expect a twelve year old girl to understand what a forty year old woman knows today.

What is it they want? They want someone to pay attention. What is it they need? They need someone to give them their time. It is as easy as that. When we teach we cannot just teach from a book, but we must teach from our heart. I was once young and remember those days, some with a smile and others with a tear. I love this age group of young adults. They are just seeking to find their way. Not unlike me. What never ceases to amaze me is how much the Lord grows me while I am trying to teach others.

Last night when I asked what they expected of me, a young girl raises her hand as says, "I expect you to know all the answers to my questions." Wow! Now, here is a girl who expects a lot, right? I found her to be bright and willing to share. I had to be honest at this point and say, " I will not know every answer to your questions, but I promise for those that I do not know I will find someone who does." See, these young adults are just like us. They want answers and they want them now. They want to understand. They want to know why things happen. They want to believe, but look at the world through their eyes. We must remember each of them are looking at the world with different eyes. They all come from different backgrounds and situations. We cannot expect them to understand everything and when we think they are not listening, they are. They really do listen and one day it will all come together for them.

We cannot expect from them what we ourselves are not willing to give. We need to pray for each child under us. We need to prepare and go about teaching with a passion and purpose. It is when we let go of that perfect picture of what we want and just let God do His awesome work that we see amazing things begin to happen. If we want our youth to grow into adults who will live for Christ, we must be willing to be honest in front of them. Not put on a show and just be real. We must be willing to open our hearts even when it hurts and share with them. They don't want everything wrapped up in a bow, they want you to be real and they want to talk about things that reach them daily.
We have this great opportunity to teach the young adults of today. These same youth want to spread their wings and fly, but they need the right guide. They need to someone to teach them not only how to fly, but how to soar and soar high with a passion to make a difference in the world they live in. They need someone to catch them if they fall and show them again how to take off, not allowing fear to keep them grounded.

I know in our club, we still need those willing to serve in areas. Are you serving somewhere today? I encourage you to serve, reaching out to those young adults just waiting for someone to notice them. It will be a blessing you will carry for life. We must remember we are all a work in progress, we just have a few steps ahead of them, so why not reach out and teach them what we know and learn together what we do not..
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