I often speak of how Kim and I serve in the Middle School environment called “Transit,” because it is no secret that we have a passion for this age of youth and how we absolutely are blessed in walking with these kids through their most difficult times of their lives.
For the past month Kiersten has joined us in Transit and will be “doing life” with her very own small group leaders along with about 20 other 6th grade girls. Well today is her first day of school, and I had thought about having a nice little sit down with said leaders, just to give them a heads up as to what to expect from our darling little Kissy kiss.
Me not being a helicopter parent, I decided to just write a quick little letter to them.
Dear Small Group Leaders,
I am a father.
A father is who is entrusting the spiritual growth of my daughter.
Be thankful that I am writing you this letter, and not her mother. There are a few things you should know, before attempting to getting to know her. A few things that could possibly change the course of action you choose to take, when mentoring this eager soul, in helping win her heart for Jesus, and having a faith of her own.
I’ve included a small list of 10 guidelines below:
1) She IS special.
Yes, I am biased, but so is every parent out there. Along with her being special, so are her friends, and every other 6th grader in your group. 20 out of 20 fathers and mothers will agree.
2) She does NOT know it all
However she probably will tell you until she is blue in the face that she does. I on the other hand, do.
3)YOU do not know it all
I do not expect you to know it all, in fact I do not WANT you to know it all. Believe me, she will appreciate going down the journey of discovering life’s most difficult questions… together.
4)You have just been put in her “circle” of people she may text.
Yes she has a cell phone, many girls her age do. This is used to tell us when she gets home from school, or if she needs an emergency pickup from soccer practice. Should she receive or send texts from numbers outside of this “circle,” her phone will explode with blue ink that will stain her face for 2 years (the remainder of middle school). I would appreciate your encouragement to not call or text outside of said numbers.
5)She forgets how old she is sometimes, and often, so do we
The importance of remembering #2 on this list can not be emphasized any greater, and our little girl is still learning how to have that “faith of her own.” Please do not let her book smarts fool you into thinking that she does not need to hear The Story, as she may very well hear it differently coming from adults other than her parents. We’re counting on this.
6)She has a very special bond with her siblings
Her younger sister and baby brother are her absolute joys, which she will probably brag about every chance she gets. This is to be encouraged, as she may possibly not think of her parents as her most favorite people during *ahem* the big P.
7)She absolutely loves having an audience at her soccer games.
9)Friday nights are our family nights, and they are absolutely open to guests.
Should either of you ever want to come on her night, or any night for that matter, just know our house will always be open. Cover charge is coffee.
10)She wants YOU to be her heroes.
We both will be looking to you all to speak truth into her, and as we were both told from the beginning, you are not her mother or her friend, you are a Hero.
So there you have it.
As you probably already know from seeing us lead our 7th grade groups, we sometimes have absolutely no idea what we’re doing OTHER than loving on these kids…
…and this is the least we expect from you.
To learn more about parenting at different phases in your child’s life, please check out the Phase Guides: The Phase Guides are a byproduct of The Phase Project, which is a synthesis of personal experience, academic research, and gatherings of leaders and educational experts from across the child development spectrum. Created in partnership with Parent Cue, these guides are designed to help you parent your child through every year.
Also, here’s a blog post from Zoey Miller that talks All About Parenting and Parenting Styles.
BOOYAH!!!!! Wisdom from the ages. Good job, proud father. 🙂
Can’t say I’m doing this all on my own… 🙂
GREAT post. Middle school will definitely be a challenge, but she’s got a huge head start thanks to you and Kim. I have a feeling the halls of that school will just be a place of Nunes Domination, just like the soccer pitch…
Thanks Mike, I can only hope we’ve prepared her… and continue to prepare her enough for what’s ahead.
Seriously LOVE this post. Bookmarking it for use in the future and sharing w/ the youth leaders at our church.
love it especially #5 – they grow it too fast, we need to just enjoy them in the “moment”.
Absolutely, wish she was cuddly and could fall asleep on my chest where I could feel her breathing and smell her baby’s breath, only to have her diaper explode not 5 minutes later.
Ok, maybe I don’t wish that…
Good luck and God Bless this year, Ben. It’s all another step in God’s glorious plan.
Call me crazy, but the little I got to know her last month, I can see a bit of genius in her. She’s outgoing, intelligent and driven. Mix that up with faith and you have yourself an influential teen. Honestly, she can shake things up for the kingdom in her school, church and even at home.
Tell her we are all keeping on eye on her and cheering her on!
You are a good daddy Ben. I really enjoy that. If anyone ever tries to with you and your kids, let me know and I’ll go down there and whip some @$$!
I’d have to agree with you on the genius part, but again I might be biased.
“She can shake things up for the kingdom in her school…”
Brother, that is what it is ALL about. Why pay staff to get the word out, when we each have about 20-30 students PER SMALL GROUP to do that for free?!
Thanks for the kind words Moe, and I might just need to hit you up on the whipping @$$ part, cause man some of these middle school and high schooler dudes are HUGE!
#1 is the most important of all of these–at least in my opinion. And I want my kids to know they are special, too. Good words.
Thanks Matt, you can definitely tell the difference between a child who has grown up without that ‘special’ attention and one who has. It’s heartbreaking and I would never wish that on anybody. I’m just glad to know there are people out there who think it’s worth spending the time and energy on kids other than theirs.