In the course of my church job, we have been counseled to let the youth run their own program. To really lead. To gain experience for themselves. This, in turn, is what we’ve been preaching to the Young Women (YW) leaders. In all truth, it is NOT my strength. Leading me to remember, randomly, one of our favorite quotes from that classic movie, “School of Rock”:
“Those that can't do, teach, and those that can't teach... teach gym.”
So far I have not been relegated to teaching gym. Yet.
As a YW leader I always tried to give the YW opportunities to lead. But, I consistently found myself taking over, doing it for them, and basically enabling. I always justified… these girls have sooooooooooo much to do. Church needs to be a safe haven from the stress of the world. I can do this faster, easier, better (oh yeah, there it is, the ego! OUCH!). Much easier to teach than to do.
Bryce is in the presidency of his age group at church. The Young Men have also been coached and mentored to step back and put the responsibility for the success of the program on the youth. He was given the assignment to call three area grocery stores to see if their scout troop could sell mistletoe on a few selected Saturdays. I groaned (inwardly). I HATE asking for free stuff from stores. More than I HATE going to the dentist. My stomach is knotting up even recalling this. However, he seemed fine with the assignment and had a couple of weeks to accomplish his task.
Week 1 he writes out a script of what he’s going to say. He emails it to his leader who gives it the thumbs up.
Week 2 nothing. I consider calling for him. As much as I HATE making those requests, it is tearing me up that my son will be exposed to chasing down the right person, stumbling over his words, and then possibly being rejected. I’m projecting every fear I have on him. But, in the end, I ignore it. Maybe it will go away.
Week 3 Bryce asks me to remind him the next day to make his calls after school. Each day we forget until we get to the day before the sale is supposed to happen. He knows today is IT. He gets on the computer and locates three
victims stores and their phone numbers.
Then he got nervous. He didn’t want to do it. He was nervous. What should he say (suddenly the script seemed drastically insufficient!)? He was agitated. I was agitated. He laid down on the floor lamenting. I had to physically leave the house to escape the overwhelming urge to do it for him.
I went and did some errands. I had every expectation that when I returned I would find him in the same position on the carpet as when I left, perhaps softly snoring.
Instead I found an exuberant youth. “I did it! I did it! I called all three! Two said ‘no’, but one said ‘yes’!” At that moment, he was his very best self.
There is power for doing for yourself. I would have robbed him of his power by doing for him. I thought I understood that before, but now I know it and I will be stronger so that they can be stronger.