Tell Me The Story
Scaring the kids in my class was easy.
Construct a high-stakes test and attach the prospect of an artificial, external punishment disguised as a reward (grades, failure). Make the test the goal, get parents all concerned about it. It’s pretty easy to create a competitive, anxiety-driven classroom organized around coercion and fear.
Bullying doesn’t require any special skills. Hiding behind “rigorous” and “being tough,” anyone can frighten kids into compliance.
Of course, that’s not what we want from students. We want them to love learning, to work in teams, to ask questions and think critically. We want them to enjoy the process of working hard toward a big goal. We know that’s what will serve them as they move beyond school.
Kids, though, are a lot like you and me. They react to what’s immediate, what’s right in front of them. They react to what they can control, what they can see, what makes them feel smart, what’s cool. They ignore what’s long-term, less immediate, more chronic.
Left alone, students (and you and I) choose a story that tells them to skip the vegetables and load up on junk food, even when it’s irrational. Two things are required to change the narrative, and they’re both hard work.
Relationship. And A Better Story
Kids won’t listen until they know you care. That takes time and investment. Once they’re listening, you can craft a different story, one that resonates but has a different outcome. And you’re wondering how this relates to riding bikes and following Jesus and supporting kids rescued from human trafficking?
People buying and selling people is a big, scary, unsolvable, beyond-our-control story. Even though it happens in every community, it’s so well-hidden that it feels far away. And, let’s face it, “sex trafficking” isn’t the coolest discussion topic.
Asking folks to step into this story is like telling kids to learn math or eat peas. We might know it’s the right thing…long-term…but we’d rather do something that feels good right now.
So, the FREEDOM TOUR frames a different story. We’re about community and relationships, because people listen when they know you care. And we’re not beating our heads against the enormous, overwhelming, worldwide problem of human slavery. We’re just helping one small group of kids, specific individuals with names and faces who have the opportunity to live and grow in the freedom God always intended for them. We’re like distant aunts and uncles to these precious children we’ll likely never meet.
Jesus didn’t create big, scary, God’s-gonna-getcha, do-it-my-way-or-else stories. He listened. He cared. He talked about seeds and vines and living in freedom.
Tell us a story…
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h/t Seth Godin for inspiring this post