Reposted from Radical Mentoring
Today’s post is from Jeff Henderson who leads Gwinnett Church in North Atlanta. Jeff and his good friend David Salyers have seen a need and met it with outstanding results. If you’ll ever have a middle school son or grandson, don’t miss this!
Over the years, as our kids have grown older, people have often asked my wife Wendy and I this question: “What’s the most important thing you did to help transition Jesse and Cole into the middle school and teenage years?”
That’s a great question.
It’s no secret that middle school is a difficult time in life. Youth pastor Derrick Harris says, “The 6th graders of today are the 8th graders of 10 years ago. Not because they are more mature, but because they are more exposed.” From exposure to pornography to peer pressure, middle schoolers have it more difficult than ever before.
But here’s the thing: Middle school isn’t just a difficult time in life, it’s a pivotal time in life. It’s in these years that kids are changing not just physically, but emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. It’s a transition unlike any other.
So, for myself and Wendy, we saw the transition into middle school as an important milestone in their lives.
Milestones are moments that mark our lives in a significant way. Things like the birth of a child, graduation ceremonies, weddings and retirement parties. They represent the end of a season of life and the beginning of a new one. After a milestone moment, we adopt a new identity of sorts.
Yet when it came time for my son Cole to transition into the teenage and middle school years, my friend David Salyers and I realized that there was a missing milestone. Throughout history in nearly every single culture there was a rite of passage, particularly from boyhood to manhood. Yet sadly, in our Western culture we have lost this important idea. It has become the Missing Milestone.
The importance of this Missing Milestone can not be overstated. It affects our families, communities, and nation in innumerable and immeasurable ways. Dr. John Trent writes in his book The Blessing, “If a young man fails to receive the blessing of his father, he will spend the rest of his life looking for it in all the wrong places.”
I didn’t want that for my son Cole, and neither did David for his sons. So, we teamed up to create a modern-day rite of passage for our boys. A rite of passage that was tons of fun but also paved the way for crucial conversations.
It eventually turned into what is now Champion Tribes, a group experience that gives fathers a plan to be intentional in their sons’ lives. A roadmap that we’re working hard to bring to families all across the country.
That, I think, is oftentimes the key: Parents have the passion, but they lack the plan. If this is you, here are some things to consider . . .
- It needs to be a moment in time, yet part of a journey.
- It should build upon ceremony and ritual.
- It needs to include your blessing.
- It needs to be done in community.
If you want to learn more about our experience, how we have helped hundreds of fathers navigate this important phase of life, and teach values like Commitment, Humility, Accountability and Perseverance, you can visit championtribes.com/how-it-works.
At the end of the day, no matter what stage of your life your child is in, don’t miss the milestone moments!
Scripture: Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)