To Will’s new small group leader or youth pastor,
When I first met this little dude, he swore up and down that he could out-dance any 6th grader he met. With confidence as high as the sky, he was slowly brought down to earth when dancing at our first retreat. He met with another boy in the cabin we shared, who challenged and beat him to a dance-off. At that moment he was humbled, but he shook it off and just said “Good job man, I just need to get better, I’ll show you next time.”
Respect, and resilience.
Did I mention he was, and still is one of the shortest dudes out of our group of guys? He may seem like he has a chip on his shoulder, but it’s really just his confidence in him knowing who he is at a very young age. A lot of this has to do with his loving parents. These people are especially key in gaining access to his life, and will definitely be the difference in how high on his list of priorities he puts you and any outings with the group.
Get to know his parents, get them to like you, and don’t screw it up.
Another thing about Will is that he speaks with wisdom beyond his years. With his openness about his parents struggles and his frustration but utmost love for his younger sister, he articulates his thoughts extremely well. He doesn’t dominate discussions but when he speaks, watch how the other boys listen, react, and engage. They will look up to him, so I encourage you to keep him close and guide him.
Kim was even lucky enough to get to know him a little bit during a mission trip she led to a retreat for families surviving childhood cancer.
She had this to say about him:
“Will – he was kind and gentle to the retreat children as well as his peers. He was extremely polite to any and all adults. He was one of few kids on the trip that took initiative and looked for ways to help and never complained when asked to do something, even at 5:30am.”
He’s a leader among his peers, trust me. If you can encourage him to keep his head straight and his focus on God, and love on him and his family, you just might be surprised at who he becomes as a man. I am so grateful he will be able to share in this transition with you.
Letter 2 in the Hand Off series.
(names changed to protect identities)