An incident last night reminded me that it's been quite a while since I posted a 'junior high ministry 101' thought.
Yesterday afternoon my 10-year-old son, Cole was wrapping up football practice. I had started to put my junk in the car and wasn't paying much attention to what was happening on the field, but when Cole came to the car he was upset...his eyes were watering and he was complaining that some of the guys on the team were taking cheap shots etc. Being the caring dad that I am I said something like: "It's football...shake it off". That was the end of it.
A few hours later as a house full of us were watching Monday Night Football, I got a phone call from Cole's coach. He said he had noticed Cole was upset when he headed to the car and wanted to check on him. We talked for a few minutes and during that time the coach shared a ton of super encouraging words about Cole and also a few observations that he thought could help Cole on the field and with his relationships with the team.
At the end of the conversation I thanked him for the call. The fact that he even noticed Cole was upset was big...him calling later on to talk to mom or dad about it was HUGE.
A few of the people watching football with me also work with junior highers and we took a second to talk about the power and importance of communicating with the parents of our students. Almost all of the parents in your ministry REALLY love their kids and are super thankful you are playing a role in their life. Your words of encouragement, sharing things you've observed, keeping them in the loop etc. may be the simplest, yet most valuable, thing you do.
It took the coach 5 minutes of his time, but he has won me over. I trust him with my son more, I respect him as a coach more, and I respect him as a person more because he made the effort to talk to me.