Are you a one percenter?

May 6, 2012

There’s this young man I know, I’ll call him Sonny.   I call him that because, well, it’s his name.  When we lived closer He and his parents would come to our house.  Yea, they dragged his sister along too.  Sonny and I would play a game we called Trac Ball.  We called it that because, well, that was it’s name.  Are you seeing a pattern here?   Sonny and I would play Trac Ball as long as the lightning stayed away, it didn’t matter if it snowed, and Sonny liked to play in the dark almost as much as he did in broad daylight.

Trac Ball was designed to be a game of catch, but with Sonny it almost always turned into a game of war!  Or at the least, dodge ball.  In the end it left me exhausted, gasping for breath and covered in bruises, and it left Sonny with a sore throat from laughing his head off every time he nailed me with the ball.  (Yes, it stings like crazy.)

Sonny has a great dad, and I never once tried to take his dad’s place.  But with Trac Ball Sonny always had another safe adult with whom he could horse around with. (I was safe because I missed more than I hit with the trac ball, but that wasn’t the only reason.  I was also a safe place in case Sonny needed someone to listen.  With the listening, 99% of the time it was nothing important  from an adult point of view.  We didn’t solve any of the worlds problems, and I don’t really remember solving any of Sonny’s either.  But I was an adult who listened.  And that paved the way for the one percent of the time when there was something important to talk about.  Sonny still knows, even four hours away, I am there for him if he needs me.

Sometimes I know that you may feel like what you do when you hang out with kids is not all that important.  Maybe you are a Sunday School teacher or small group leader; maybe you are just a friend of the family.  I hope you realize that when you take the time to be a safe, listening voice in the life of a young person, you are paving the way for that one percent.  And very few adults take the time to pave the way for the one percent.  There are other seemingly important things for you to do, grown-up-stuff.   But taking time to just hang out with kids (in a safe environment) is paving the way, it is probably one of the best things you could spend you time on.

Every kid needs at least one other adult in their life besides mom or dad.  And as valuable as teachers are, most don’t have the time.  besides kids kind of get the feeling that teachers are paid to care.  And to them that doesn’t count quite so much.  But you.  You hang around them because you like them, and every kid can use one more person to like them.

I hope you see a couple of important things here.  The reason pedophiles are successful is because most kids are looking for an adult who likes them.  By being that adult you are adding a layer of protection around the life of a kid.  And you are adding a layer of value around the life of a kid.  If you like them, they might even like themselves a bit more, and that is always a good thing.

So find the time to be a one-percenter.  It probably won’t take much more than one percent of your time, but it will pay off on ways you can’t even imagine.

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