Gary and Lisa Black were in our home last night. They are here to meet the 53 World Racers whom they’re going to coach beginning in a few months in the Philippines. Gary and Lisa are so well-suited for the task. They love the Racers like they were their own children. They hug them and confront them equally well. Somehow young people sense they’re safe and begin pouring their hearts out to them.
One of the things I particularly like about Lisa is the way she is a cheerleader for her children’s kingdom destinies. Many parents carry on over their child’s smallest accomplishment in the sports or academic arena (in Little League everyone gets a trophy). Contrast that with Lisa, who sent her 16 year-old son Tyler around Africa with mission teams for weeks at a time. To give you a closer look at what I’m talking about, here’s a note she wrote him:
My dear son,
What an amazing experience, one you will never forget! I cannot even imagine walking around a foreign country alone at your age! You are fearless, I love that about you! I said to your dad while you were traveling alone that I never worry about you in those situations, you are so smart and brave, but I would be in near panic over any of the rest of the kids….that is a long journey!
I can tell your grandparents are so thrilled to have you, I know you are loving seeing them again. I love your spirit and your encouragement, you are right where you are meant to be and although your absence is heavily felt, we are happy for you. I think God is preparing me for when you all go off on your own, I will miss you all so much, but I will never stand in the way of your life, your dreams, or your inheritance, I promise!”
If you’re Tyler, what does that do for you? Man, if that’s me hearing my mom cheering me on like that, I think I could walk on water. Our kids need us to not only believe the best about them, but to liberally, even sloppily slather on the praise. Yes, it needs to be sincere, but realizing that the first 30 years are identity-forming years, we as parents need to give them a strong foundation of righteous self-confidence.
Many people comment on what a fantastic, mature young man Tyler is. That didn’t happen by accident. His parents focused him on seeking first the kingdom and when he took risks in going for it, they didn’t worry or wring their hands, but saw him as a young Braveheart in the making.