One of the many benefits of coordinating our Pure Truth program is getting feedback from the students, at the end of our two-week session. Not only do we get insight into certain truths that seem to stick a little better than others, but we often get suggestions for topics they would like to talk about, resulting in good material, for the next year.
But, even though future topics are helpful and it's encouraging to hear that what we shared fell on listening ears, there's nothing that spurs us on, as a team, like hearing how specific lives were affected, for the good, because of the time we invested.
We recently wrapped up our 2017-18 school year and as I was documenting what the students provided on our feedback form, I came across a comment, perhaps, even a question, that took me back to square one, in perspective to our number one purpose of mission.
"Why do y'all give up your time for us?"
If you've followed Pure Truth for a while, you probably know we are a branch of Grace House Ministries, in Weatherford, Texas. Because Grace House Ministries is a non-profit organization, we are blessed to be able to provide our two-week service to area schools at no cost. Not only can schools receive the profitable curriculum for free, but each one of our Pure Truth team members volunteer their time and transportation to make that curriculum come to life.
One of our favorite stories to tell is from several years ago, when a student sent in an anonymous comment, via our note card option they are given, each day, in class. The student said how he/she thought this program was "a waste of taxpayer's money". One of my team members, who received the card, couldn't wait to go back, several days later, and share with the class a truth in relation to this student's comment. That, in fact, no tax payer was being held responsible for this program's success or failure. In addition, each adult visiting their classroom, each day, sometimes for multiple classes a day, was giving one of the best things another human being can give: their precious time.
I think that's why receiving this recent student's question meant so much. This student wasn't just made aware that those coming to share truth were volunteers, but the magnitude of the gift truly affected him or her.
In a time when we, as adults, must prioritize whom and what receives our time, I'm afraid our children are quickly getting the point that they either make the cut or don't. Our intentions may be arguably the purest of the pure, but what our children see can not be mistaken. Statistics show that close to 40% of children think their parents spend too much time on their phones. If something isn't on the family calendar, it doesn't happen. And, the excitement of a spur-of-the-moment trip for ice cream means something else can't be done and that's simply too costly.
We would be a fool to believe our children aren't receiving a blaring message from us: they are either worth our time or they aren't.
With summer upon us, let's change that sad reality, even if your own children know and see their value, in your time. Pure Truth is passionate about students understanding, not just hearing, that who they are is valuable and no one can steal that value away. That truth being foundational is a reason our team will always be made up of volunteers. Getting paid for something is a true perk, but students know when money is involved, there's more of a motivation than simply loving students.
So, what can you do?
Be the most available for those who matter most. Regardless if your schedule doesn't change, this summer, see it as an opportunity to do something specific, with your child, each week. Keep it simple. Keep it authentic. Keep it intentional. Your child will get the message and never be the same.
Be the house for the hangout. Your children may never question where they fall in your priorities, but they more than likely have a friend or two who have never experienced that type of value. Host the movie-watching parties. Invite their friends over for lunch and an afternoon swim. Offer to do pick up from their athletic practice and run through Sonic, for half-price drinks, on the way home. It's not about money or trying to impress. You're simply showing them they are worth it.
Be the only voice of truth, some may ever hear. Our Pure Truth program can only survive because of some of the most selfless people, on the planet. Each one on the team has busy schedules, be it with their own children, their time-consuming jobs, and/or their investment of time, in other areas. But, tirelessly, each fall and spring semester, they carve out 2-3 hours a week to simply give. Give their gas. Give their voice. Give their time. They each come from different backgrounds, experiences, challenges, and expertise, but they hold one foundational thing in common: what they do, week in and week out, is because they love students and want to see students change the world, for the better. Now is the time for you to be a part. No more excuses, no more "waiting until". Join us in being able to answer that student's question with the truth that there is no better way to show someone they are valued, but by giving them your time.
Welcome, summer. With your longer days and warmer temps. With your full weeks and your lazy mornings. Before September hits us in the face, let's do something greater with our greatest commodity and show our children and the children in our community their worth. One precious moment of time, after another.