My two oldest sons left this morning on a week-long trip with Kentucky Changers. They went with some adult chaperones and youth from our church youth group. Here are 6 reasons why I’m so glad that they went.
1. It allows them to serve the less-fortunate.
Following Jesus means that we will not live our lives solely for ourselves. We will realize that Jesus came to serve others and He has called us to do the same (Mark 10:43-45).
This week, my two sons will serve. They may be on a roof. They may paint or work at repairing a porch. Regardless of their specific assignment, they will be forgetting themselves and immersing themselves in serving the needs of others. That’s a VERY good thing and they will grow from it.
2. It enables them to get away from technology.
My boys are like most other boys their age. Technology is a constant lure. Whether it is gaming on the computer or texting a friend on their mobile device or sitting in front of a television for extended periods of time, they often find it difficult to get away from a screen.
This week, they will spend most of their time outside and away from a screen. There will be plenty of work to do so they may discover that for the duration of their trip, they don’t even miss the technology. They will have plenty of other activities to occupy their time and mind.
3. It gives them an opportunity to grow spiritually.
There’s something about getting away from a familiar environment that can help us focus on the Lord. At home, there are plenty of distractions that work to keep us from spending time in prayer and reading the Word. It’s possible but it can be difficult.
This week, my boys will be 5.5 hours away from home. They will also be with their Minister of Youth and other leaders who will encourage them to spend time with the Lord. They will be encouraged to read their Bible and look for what God is doing around them throughout the day. That sort of sensitivity is sometimes difficult when going through normal daily routines.
4. It enables them to flex their “wings.”
My oldest son is potentially only 2 years from leaving home and going to college. My second oldest is potentially only 4 years away. When that time comes, I want them to be more than ready to step out of the house and feel confident enough to take life by the horns. But, in order for them to be ready in a few years, they need opportunities to flex their wings while they are still under our care.
This week, they will get a full week to stay out of the shadows of Dad and Mom. While they are under the supervision of other adults, they will have the ‘feel’ of being an adult and making decisions away from their parents. That’s a great thing!
5. It gives them some physical exercise.
Summers for school aged children can provide plenty of time to get lethargic. No school. Few sports. Summer heat. All of that and more can cause the couch to look very compelling. A parent can/should tell their children to get outside to get some sunshine and exercise but it can feel like we are a broken record after we’ve said those things a few hundred times.
This week, my boys will need to put on sunscreen. They will almost certainly be outside so they will get sunshine. Even if it’s cloudy, they will get plenty of fresh air. They were told to bring hand tools so they will get plenty of exercise.
6. It provides an opportunity to build new relationships.
Part of the joy of life is getting to know and enjoy other people. Some people have experienced fascinating events in their life and it can be fun to listen to them talk about it. Some people have learned lessons that a wise person would do well to listen to. Some folks are just plain fun to be around. But, unfortunately, in the day-to-day routine of life, we often don’t take time to enjoy the people around us.
This week, my boys will be placed into groups that are chosen beforehand. Almost certainly they will be grouped with folks from other cities and other churches. So, they will go through the whole routine of getting to know someone’s name on the first day. But, by the end of the week, as they have worked together for days they will find parting with a new, dear friend difficult. They will have made some new friends that they will remember for years to come.
It is for these reasons and more that I’m glad that my boys are serving with Kentucky Changers for the next week. I will pray for them each day and look forward to all of the stories they will have when we see each other in a week.