i did something right today (which is not always true). most anytime we are doing something around the student center (setting up for something, adding something, changing something, etc.) i try to get kids involved in doing it. we painted our little cafe and there were five kids and one adult doing it. we tore the carpet up from the student center and there were teens involved. it’s not that we want the kids as free labor (though that’s nice), or that we want them to have ownership of the ministry by being a part of making it happen (though we do). nope, we get kids involved in doing things because good conversations seem to happen when we do physical work with teens. so today i wanted to get a few kids involved in helping us put our new light bar up in our student center. because of the physical nature of the work we were going to be doing i decided to call guys to help us (stupid sexist pig that i am). unfortunately the guys i called last night didn’t work out and thus it looked like it would merely be me and alan working on the light bar.
that was true until lunch. at lunch julie and laura came by to say “hi.” besides saying hello they asked the fateful question “what are y’all doing today?” when i went on to describe what we were doing they asked to see my diagram of it and then started asking questions about it. after seeing the diagram i asked if they wanted to see what we had done thus far. julie went ballistic. turns out she wants to be a aeronautical engineer and is fascinated by fabricating things (i’ve known her for four years and this was new to me because she usually the one of the people we turn to for photography and creative work). we went over to the student center and i showed them the work we had done thus far. then i asked if they would like to help. they stayed for the next two hours helping with the man/woman-lift, placing bolts on the supports, and then drilling holes in the bar itself. it was great. in the end they even signed their names on the top of the bar as a physical marker of their involvement in the project.
who would have known they would have been so fascinated by a man/woman-lift? i didn’t and thus the only thing i did right in this was actually asking if they wanted to help when they showed up of their own volition.