When I was in college, I followed professional wrestling very closely. Professional wrestling is basically a soap opera for men. When I was younger, Hulk Hogan was a good guy but when I was in college he was a bad guy who formed the N.W.O. which was the New World Order. They were a group that came together and fought other wrestlers. One of the wrestlers in the N.W.O. was a little dude named Xpac. He was smaller than most other wrestlers on the show but was wiry and fast. He did a lot of climbing up the turnbuckle and jumping off of it on to people. He was a lot of fun to watch.
When I worked for the YMCA one of the cycling class instructors asked me if I could kid sit for her. She has a 6th grader who was in my afterschool program. His name was Brock. I didn’t really kid sit for kids in my programs, but she was on staff so I said what the heck. I came over that night and after she told me everything to do and she left, Brock and I just sort of hung out. He showed me around that house, we played some video games and then we were stuck trying to find something else to do.
I really don’t remember how it happened, but somehow we started wrestling around the den. We were using pillows and jumping off the couch. He was so small at the time, that I could pick him up and throw him into the couch. I couldn’t do that now if I tried. He would get on my back and try to get me to the ground and we wrestled for a long time, and in the end, I dubbed him Xpac! He loved it and would run around doing the N.W.O. salute. It was a lot of fun. At some point in time we had both had enough and Brock headed off to bed.
Brock stayed in my program for a long time. I quickly realized that his father didn’t play much of a role in his life. We had a good relationship although I never kid sat him again. We had an incident one year at the leadership school where he got in trouble and although the staff was really mad at him over something, I stayed by him the whole time. I sort of forced him to be a part of the leadership team when he wanted to be pulled in opposite directions. I listened when he needed to talk and accepted him for who he was. He was a good kid. He was really upset when I left the YMCA.
One day a couple of years ago, I got a facebook message from him. I hadn’t talked to him in a long while, but he wrote about how much I meant to him and the difference I made in his life. He talked about how great a person I was and how thankful he was that I had been a part of his life. He told me that he will always remember being Xpac during that night of wrestling.
When you form relationship with youth, you are making an impact in their lives. Sometimes you see that impact right away, other times how much of an impact surprises you, and sometimes you just don’t make an impact at all. You will never know for sure when you start working with a youth what kind of impact you will have on them but that is the reason why you try. You try because God has put it in your heart and given you the skill set to make a difference in the lives of today’s youth. That is why I do it. That is why I am always looking for the next Brock, for the next Xpac.
We have formed a new group, the N.Y.O., the New Youth Order, and we accept everyone so let’s get started and see what kind of impact we can have on our youth!