I asked my wife to write some notes about her experience in the past few years through YL:
I’ve been involved in Young Life since I was in jr. high attending Wyld Life. My role since then have included Young Life club kid, campaigner kid, Wyld Life leader, Young Life leader, and now, staff spouse and leader mentor. It keeps changing as my season of life changes and the Lord allows me to be used in different ways.
Our kids are 4 years, 6 years, and 8 years old right now and my involvement is still changing. Being a parent of young kids and being involved in Young Life looks different in every family. We all have various capacities, personalities, and desires, not to mention our kids’ personalities! Here’s what’s worked for me:
- With one baby, I was a full-fledged leader and I just brought him along for club and contact work. I remember leading songs with my infant son in a front pack baby carrier. As he got a little older, he would sit with a club kid while I did songs, skits, or whatever. He was an easy baby and handled people, noise, and staying up late very well.
- When our second baby was born and our son was 2 years old, I took a step back. I showed up at club, kids in tow, but I didn’t have any club responsibilities. I wanted to hang out with girls I knew, but had to keep a close eye on my kids. The girls loved seeing our kids and for many of them, seeing me parenting and loving my kids was an important example for them.
- As we added our 3rd baby to the mix, my role changed completely. I could no longer manage to be at club at all, so I officially stepped down from leading. Now, some people can make this work! But for me, I could not balance being at club with all three kids. So, my focus changed to our leaders…keep reading!
- As a stay at home mom, time was one thing I had a lot of, in a strange kind of way. I wanted to serve our leaders by tracking down club supplies, something I could do with a baby, a 2 year old, and a 4 year old. We would venture out together and get whatever leaders needed, as long as they told me in advance!
- Visiting leaders at work became another one of my (and my kids) favorite things to do! We went to coffee shops, retail stores, and wherever else our leaders worked, just to say hi. Yes, it was a little bit crazy, but my kids did better one-on-one with the leaders and it was a great way to step into our leaders’ worlds for a while.
- I enjoy meeting up with our leaders one-on-one to hear how the Lord is working in their lives. When all three kids were with me, not in school or with a babysitter, I’d meet leaders at places like McDonald’s because the kids could play in the play area while the leader and I talked. It was often a time filled with interruptions, but also a way to let leaders into my life and into our family life. Now that our older two are in elementary school and the youngest has preschool, I can find time to meet up with leaders without the interruptions.
- Another outlet for me to serve is helping Sean lead FYL, our “First Year Leading” Bible study and leader training aimed at college freshman. We meet at 9:15 pm at our house, which means that our kids are asleep and I can be fully engaged and present for FYL! I love this time to get to know these potential leaders and help them through such an important time in their lives. Honestly, Sean does the majority of the prep and training parts, so my responsibility is to love the leaders, share my experience with leading and with my walk with the Lord, and take care the practical needs of hosting (making sure the space is ready for everyone to grow and learn).
Different families balance leading and being involved with Young Life in a myriad of ways! This is what worked for us. I’m sure it will keep changing as our kids get older! The key is to ask the Lord to show you what He has for you right now and to be willing to flex as life changes.