Never Finished Learning

Posted on by Tacoma YFC

Twenty one years ago I began my career with YFC in Whitefish, Montana and I immediately became a “youth expert”.  I read all the right books, sat through the trainings and discussed the finer points of reaching middle and high school kids with the gospel.  I was witty, creative (enough to entertain teens), and could connect relationally with kids.  Parents would routinely pull me aside and throw a tough situation at me and ask, “So, what do we do? Give us some direction.”

At the tender age of 22 I thought I had it all dialed in.  Now that I have a 13 year old daughter I’m suddenly realizing that I was clueless.  Plenty of head knowledge—check. The right manuals to refer to—check. Confidence to speak to a large group of rowdy teenagers—check.  But real life experience and wisdom? Uh, Bueller, Bueller? (if you are a fan of the 80s, you get this…if not, please keep moving along)

Raising our very own teenager has sparked some great discussions between my wife and I—“What were we thinking having children?!?! Where’s the manual for this situation?!? No wonder my hair (Bobby) is gray!?!” You simply can’t prepare yourself for parenting a teen until you’re in the middle of the battle/journey/experience (whichever adjective fits at that momentJ).

God is teaching me some incredibly rich and painful lessons as I shepherd my daughter’s heart—humility, gentleness, patience—none of which come easily to me.  I’m reading more books on raising daughters, searching for wisdom filled blogs, and asking questions of dads who have already walked in my shoes.

I’ve heard it said that learning is a life-long journey and now more than ever I wholeheartedly agree.  Whether it’s digesting parenting advice or studying 1 Peter chapter 1 or discovering new ways to lead the mission of Tacoma YFC with boldness and courage, it’s a challenge I’m tackling every day. 

Proverbs 1:5 states, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,” (ESV) 

So, what about you?

Are you a learner by nature or does it come in response to difficult challenges? What about the organizations, groups, even the family, that you may lead?  Are you setting the example for each by your personal learning?

When Kelsey looks back on her teenage years I hope she remembers parents who, in the midst of being impatient and making mistakes, sought out guidance and weren’t satisfied to parent on their own ideas.  No longer “experts” but rather learners.

For Kids,


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