One of the most important things that we teach student leaders, kids’ leaders, and anyone that is involved at all with any younger generations is that they need to invest. Investing is a term that imparts the idea of giving something with the expectation of being able to use that investment in the future. So how do we get and use that investment?
They should always feel important
I talked to someone a little while back that noticed something about me that I have worked on for years. They noticed that if I am greeting a new family, I give a quick introduction to the parents, and then immediately I am on my knees to get the kids’ names and ages. Then, I’m talking only to them. When I’m done, I’ll talk to the parents again. This makes those kids feel like they are the most important people I’ve ever met. Asking about their week, visiting them at school, yelling a greeting in the grocery store, memorizing their names, and going to their school plays are some awesome ways to make these kids feel important and loved. Not only are you building up some rapport with them, you’re building it with their parents as well.
They should never be insulted
It seems like every time I turn around, there are articles, videos, and open letters popping up all over about why millennials are basically worthless, why the next generation of kids doesn’t stand a chance, and why anyone under the age of the author are wasting their lives. Guess what? If you’ve been investing in a younger person and you use your investment to insult them, it’s gone. Probably forever. If you’ve been working with students and earned a good deal of trust, don’t post that article about how students are lazy. Not only will you lose your credibility, you’ll make it much harder for the next person to gain any. Here’s the bottom line: If you insult someone, you will almost never be able to invest in them. So think before you speak.
A good return
So how do we use that return? It is impossible to speak into a child’s life until you have earned some respect, trust, and credibility. The above points will help you do that. Now, how do we speak into their lives? Be praying for opportunities, and be ready when they come. That’s it. That’s my huge point. At some point, you will see that you have an opportunity to use that investment. There may be a topic that you are covering that you know a particular child has a struggle with. By the way, you know that because you’ve invested in them! There may be an opportunity where a child asks you a specific question because they trust you. There may be an important spiritual decision brewing within a child. Guess who they’ll talk to? They’ll talk to those that have invested in them. So when the time comes, make sure you’re ready.