Woody Allen said that "Ninety percent of life is just showing up." While that is very true, there is also a lot of strategy to doing smart contact work. What are your "best times" with kids?
This past Friday afternoon the bell rang as I was walking into the high school. My arrival collided with their departure. I got stuck holding the door as hundreds of kids poured into the parking lot. After the five minute mad rush, I followed some friends to the Junior lot. I don't usually show up at the school on Fridays until after dinner, for the football game at night. But this past Friday I was heading out of town, so I decided to make a quick stop.
Those thirty minutes in the parking lot felt like some of the most encouraging contact work time I've had in a while. It was sunny. It was the weekend. Kids were in good moods. I had plenty to chat with them about: their cars, their neon green cross country cleats, the amount of $ they paid for those subs to sound that obnoxious, their weekend plans. I'm thinking of making it part of a new routine.
Young Life Leader and Guest Blogger Mackenzie Olson says that "car time" is one of her best times. "Driving kids. I have had some of the most influential times with kids while in my car. I was a Wyldlife leader for 4 years and always picked up kids out of a necessity to have anyone show up at club. It became a sacred time to share day-to-day life with my middle school friends. Driving kids can become one-on-ones anytime. As a Young Life leader now, I still drive kids places, not as much out of necessity but more for a chance to spend quality time with them."
While more time consuming than a Friday afternoon, the best memories I've made with kids have been the times I've taken them out of town. I'll never forget this story my friend Tim told me about a trip he took in high school. His Young Life leader called him up and asked if him and a friend could go to the mountains for a long holiday weekend. They got their parents' permission and jumped in the car. Tim lived on the east coast, so he assumed, they were heading to Blue Ridge mountains. Nope. His YL leader thought it would be more fun to make the 22 hour drive to the Rockies. By the time they arrived in Colorado, it was time turn around for the drive home. Maybe not the wisest trip planning, but Tim won't forget that "car time" anytime soon.
What are your best times with kids? Please share in the comments below and let other leaders borrow your ideas.