Taylor is likely to keep his faith as he transitions from his teens to his twenties. There is nothing, I mean nothing, that I could possibly want more.
Of course, there are no guarantees in this messiness known as life, but there are a few predictive behaviors on his side. First, he’s experienced adversity from his friends. He’s been made fun of. He’s been the target of personal attacks. Christian Smith, in his book Souls in Transition, highlights six factors that increase the odds that your teenagers faith is firm enough to transition with them into adulthood. According to this sociologist’s research the BIG one is having their faith tested while they’re still in high school. Turns out that teens do better when they’re made fun of early and often. Builds resilience. College is hard. Better to be tested prior to arriving on campus. Funny, huh.
We spend so much time and energy protecting our teens from trouble when nothing but trouble is what their faith requires. And, nothing prepares teens better for the REAL, HARD, tests of life then realizing that they,in fact, are alone. Lead anything and you know exactly what I mean. All leaders are alone more than anything else. FACT.
Last night, Taylor tucked in early. He had found out his YL leader was not going to be able to lead his small group due to Finals week. I assumed that meant no small group so I asked him why he was turning in early, anyway. “Cause I’m going to lead it Dad,” came his instant reply. And so this morning at about 5:40AM I listened for him and, sure enough, the back door opened and closed quickly and quietly. He was off. My mind raced and my face hurt from smiling so wide. My son is becoming a leader…
Here’s the cool part. He got up before the crack of dawn to lead his small group, deepen his faith, and fortify a few key relationships with his peers. Very cool. And, here comes the coolest part.
Nobody showed. He got stiffed.
His response; even cooler. “No problem,” he calmly communicated to his Mom upon his return. “I just took the time, alone, and read.” Tay doesn’t realize his resilience rocks. Tay doesn’t know he just scored. Tay doesn’t know; or, maybe he does.
All I know is it’s a really good thing I wear shirts without buttons. No doubt, this morning, they would have popped right off…