I was thinking about this a lot lately, how to judge your Young Men’s Program, or to get even more raw, how good are you as a YM leader?
After much contemplation I settled on this: the single most important factor in judging YM leaders is how they minister to the boys. My definition of “minister” is the amount of love you have for them along with the works you do that are motivated by that love. I think that is how Jesus will judge YM leaders. Fortunately, I don’t have the capacity to see into hearts, so I can’t judge that, so I need to find a different way to judge you all.
So, I started looking for a metric… a number. Without a doubt the most important number is the percentage of your young men who serve Missions. On the surface that works, but I decided it wouldn’t be fair to use that number. Frankly that number is largely dependent on the spiritual circumstance of those who are delivered to your door. That is not to minimize the affect the YM’s program can have, but it is to say it is not the only or even necessarily the primary factor (primary factor would be home life, IMHO). (more…)
Yesterday we observed Scout Sunday. I loved seeing the boys in their uniforms. Two older members with no connection to the Youth stopped me to tell me how much they enjoyed seeing the uniformed boys. I also overheard a conversation in the hallway with 2 members saying the same thing.
So today I make my rounds through the LDS blogs and and and surprised to learn that Scout Sunday is controversial. OK, I don’t really think it is controversial in real life, but in the Drama Queen blogernacle, it is controversial.
Anyway, it is a very interesting post over at Times and Seasons
BTW- I have this theory that most everything on the local church level that is controversial is because leaders have failed to plan well, or communicate well. I arrive at that theory because everything that I personally been involved with that has turned out “controversial” was directly related to those failures by me or other leaders.
In the Times and Seasons post there is a bit of mini-drama is over whether or not the YM should pass the Sacrament in their uniforms. In our ward we notified the Elders Quorum early, so they prepared it and passed it. They enjoyed participating in that ordinance this one Sunday, the Boys get to see the men passing, which builds their appreciation for the importance of the ordinance. Families get to have their boys sit with them through the entire meeting. Sounds like a win-win situation, or as Micheal Scott says– “a win, win, win situation”.
I had great Church leaders all through my teen life. I could not have asked for better men, they were just great. Yet as I look back over my 6 years in YM, a single act stands above all others. It was the most gratifying interaction of all, yet oddly, no words spoken.
My adviser attended my High School Track meet.
As a teen, outside of my family, I existed in 2 very happy worlds. My sports and Church. Both were great, but in all honesty my sports world was bigger than my church world, simply because I spent 3 or 4 hours a day competing or training, and church was about 3 or 4 hours a week. As I said, both were very happy, and I could not have asked for more favorable circumstances in both my sports and church worlds, but they just never intersected. I was active, so there was never any need to “work on me”, as good leaders do in attempts to re-activate kids who are not coming out, but one day my leader showed up at a meet. That made a big impression on me. He just watched, nodded as I jogged by, and quietly left when it was over. It made me feel pretty awesome. I remember it to this day, 3 decades later.
I am trying to do the same for the Young Men in my ward. When I can find the time to do it, it is appreciated. One time I went to a boy’s game, and as I sat down next to his parents, his mom got all teary eyed, apparently touched that I would care enough about her son to stop in. It humbled me that by giving a little time I can really make a positive experience for others. Truth be told, watching a high school sporting event is very enjoyable, so it is not a great sacrifice, it just takes an hour or two out of your schedule.
* Often their parents are in the stands, so I sit by them. It is a great time to talk about some of the individual needs of their boy in a very casual setting.
* I like to know the kids status on the team ahead of time, are they a star? A starter? A reserve? In casual conversation with the boy I usually say something like “You getting any minutes?” That acknowledges that getting playing time is not easy, and frees them up to complain if they are riding the bench.
* I don’t really approach the boy at the event, they have a lot going on. I just watch, nod if you can catch their eye. I try to get there early, as when they are warming up they are always checking out the crowd, which is often sparse early, then they know you are there.
* I watch carefully for their best play of the game, mentally note it, then bring it up when you see them at the next Mutual or Sunday.
* My work schedule can vary at the last minute, so I never promise to attend, I just show up when I can. I usually let the parent know that I hope to come, but ask them not to mention it to the boy in case I can’t make it.
* For football, Hockey, Lacrosse or other helmet sports make sure you know their number, otherwise you won’t know who to watch. For Varsity sports they often have rosters at the door, but rarely for lower levels.
* Scheduled seem to change, and I always call the school during the day to confirm gametime and location. Online schedules are often wrong.
* This is not limited to sports, attend a concert, play etc.
* There is always a guy in the ward who is way into sports, and would love to attend any game, invite him to come along.
There is a really good post over at Segulla about teenagers
It is more about Young Women, but there are a lot of simularities to Young Men.
I particularly agree with this paragraph:
“I find teenagers to be really fascinating. The way they think (or don’t). Their complete incapacity for logic. And oh the emotions! (Do you like roller coaster rides?) Yet despite all of that if you watch closely you can sometimes catch them being generous, kind-hearted, open-minded and compassionate.”
I will take hanging out with a bunch illogical rowdy Young Men over blowhard self-important High Priests any Sunday of the year!
This is a great post over at Segulla blog.
It is kind of syrupy for this rough and tumble Manly blog, but the tribute to Young Women leaders is worth reading. I don’t think the author will mind me slipping some Young Men leaders under the umbrella of gratitude she spreads.
When I am tired or frustrated with the demands of my calling I always remember how much was done for me by my leaders when I was a Young Man. I had no of gratitide then. I loved them, but I didn’t realize the sacrifice they made to be with us. Now I realize how hard they worked to serve me, and I can try to repay the service by being a good leader to our current crop of Young Men.