Meet George—my co-leader for our middle school small group of about fifteen 6th grade boys.
George just graduated high school and is ready to mold these impressionable young boys with his VAST knowledge of life and the universe. Then there is Will. Will is in a stage of life where his 4 children range from 12 to mid-20’s. He is the CEO of his own company and is about to send his oldest son off to college. Although not as eager to “mold,” Will still realizes the value of an adult male in these young boys’ lives. Then, there’s me. The in-betweener. I have children, ranging from 3 – 12 but I still act and (sometimes) feel like a middle schooler.
What value do all of these ranges of age and experience have for these boys who will eventually experience much of what we have already? How can they gain such powerful insight from the 3 of us so as to rule the world with perfect decision-making?
There is no value, and they can’t even stand a chance in the decisions they face… if we don’t share.
To these boys, we start off as these adult males in the room that just sit and watch them, and maybe strike up a conversation or two about the latest Xbox or PS3 game that is soon to be released. It changes when we become real and when we share our innermost struggles as Godly Men. When we are vulnerable and transparent.
But not 100% transparent.
While sharing our lives with our few, we have to remember the ages of these boys. We have to keep in mind that they might not yet understand the temptations and struggles with drugs, girls, pornography, road-rage, taxes, and even marriage. We have to place the filter on these kinds of things or maybe even pull bits and pieces of our stories to fit the maturity level so as to let them understand that we are real people, with real feelings and real emotions. Real guys who know what they might experience in the future. Real guys who really are just trying to extend grace and love, so as to make them comfortable enough to open up and share—not clam up and give us the cold shoulder.
When this happens we gain access—making it 2-way communication—which is key to discipleship.