I’m not sure why, but I was recently thinking about the people who helped shape my life. Two years ago I started working with the kids at church on Sunday night. I went into it with some hesitation. Frankly, I thought it was going to be inconvenient. But Lisa had worked with the kids at church for years and I sort of felt like it was my turn to do something.
Instead of inconvenience, what I found was that I really looked forward to spending time with these incredible youth. I developed some great relationships with the kids and I loved it when they came up to me on Sunday mornings to give me a little grief!
I distinctly remember leaders at my home church taking the time to mentor me through some pretty tough years.
I once had a youth director at church named Doug. I thought he was the coolest person I’d ever met. One day my dad asked me why I’d taken a shower and yet my wash cloth was still dry. “Doug told me he doesn’t use a wash cloth. He just takes the soap and rubs it on.” I’d changed my entire grooming habits based on a two-minute conversation with this man. My dad was unimpressed.
I specifically recall one church trip in middle school. Doug drove us to Camp Caraway somewhere in the middle of North Carolina. Unfortunately, I’d just discovered mooning. My buddies and I spent the entire weekend conniving on how we could moon the girls on the trip without being seen by an adult. We stayed in a huge cabin with four large rooms that sprang out from the den. On the front of this building was a very long porch. After lunch that Saturday we heard Doug ask the leaders to stay at the dining room for a quick meeting. I had the fellas hustle back to the cabin, rushing in front of the girls.
When these unsuspecting gals walked up the path, they were greeted with 25 bare butted, raging hormonal, middle school boys. We made sure they got a solid view of our tails and then celebrated our lunar victory for the next 24 hours.
It was a lot of fun. Until we got home and Margaret Sneedman told her uptight mother that we’d mooned people off the church bus on highway 421. My father, being one of the ministers at the church failed to see the humor in our antics. Doug, on the other hand, was pretty cool – another reason I loved the man.
I saw Lisa touch kids through her work with the children’s choir at First Presbyterian. One year when we were absent a children’s minister, she just decided to run the program herself. She spent the entire year on Jonah – the culminating event was an hour long musical based on the whale tale.
I can’t count the number of guys that Jesse influenced while working at Camp Sea Gull when he was younger. I run into guys all the time who can still remember some of the incredibly funny things he did that made a huge impact in their lives.
I’m certain that most everyone has had people who invested in them when they were young. Shoot, I still have folks helping me grow up. I hope I can begin to give back a tiny fraction of what was given to me. In twenty-five years, wouldn’t it be nice for someone to say, “That Danny Tanner sure was cool”?