Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Ministry of 'Mess Up, 'Fess Up, and Grow Up

About to finish an amazing two years of serving as the Dean of Students at our school. And it has made me even more amazed at the 20 plus years that Coach Fred Yancey served in this role. Sometimes I feel like I have served 20 years in two- and if that is true- he did 200 years in twenty.

He has been the one that has been so helpful as I go to him and talk through different situations and he always has an example of things he did right and things that he wished he had done differently. I don't care what your degree is or how many books you read- there is NO substitute for a mentor.

And last night- he summed up my job in such a clear and concise way that I will never forget it. He was talking to our team and said- "the ministry of mess up, fess up, and grow up"- and it clicked like a light bulb.


My job is the most consistent one on the planet next to funeral services. I go to work everyday with a small to do list that I never really get to because e-mails, phone calls, and stop-ins begin to line up the long list of disobedience or rules infractions. Dress code, classroom disturbance, inappropriate humor, possible cheating, plagiarism, tardies, twitter fights, student concerns, parking or driving issues, skipping class, family issues, and I can go on and on. Some VERY light and some deep and serious.

I have never had one school day in 2 years where everyone did it right- which is a picture of where we all are in terms of human nature. We can't follow man's rules- how much more we violate God's rules. Some struggle in areas where others do not- but everyone has that area where no matter how hard they try- they come up short on their own. Now, the vast amount of our students NEVER come to see me for discipline issues. But no one is perfect..... no, not one.


Here is where the rubber meets the road. It is not normal to fess up.

This is as old as the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve refused to come clean with God. The natural tendency is to lie and deny til you die. It is easy to blame others or complain that others are guilty and geting away with it.

It takes a lot of courage and grace humility to look someone in the eye and say "I did it and I am sorry".

This is going to sound weird, but some of my most rule breaking students are ones I admire the most because they are honest in admitting what happened. Even more are the ones who know they need to accept hard consequences- but have the inner strength to take them.

I try to help my students here in the process. I never want a false confession (and I get those at times) but I do work with them on the process of admitting a wrong doing and teaching a process of apology and moving forward.


The Book of Hebrews has a lot to say about the necessity of discipline:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

I get to see the fruit of this process almost everyday.

I will read this passage to my students from time to time- including the inference of verse 10 that 'fathers' sometimes make the wrong decision in discipline thinking we are doing good- but God disciplines us for good.

But I do see a fruit of standing firm in business-like discipline. Not yelling but explaining punishment and gradually increasing the severity until the message clicks- it is much better and easier to obey.

However, it is a PROCESS- "those who have been trained by it"


Personally- I need to fess up to God and see the areas that I need more self control and need to practice being more disciplined. This includes applying the disciplines of grace- Bible study, prayer, to my life in a more consistent way.

As a Dad: I do not like disciplining or correcting my children. I like peace. But if I do not correct them, I AM NOT LOVING THEM. My tendency was to do great while they were little but back away as they get more sophisticated. But if I do not address issues of laziness, or respect, or attitude... I am not helping them. There are times to do this and times to back up..... but hard conversations and possible consequences that stick need to be administered. Our youth tend to disregard authority and our role as parents is to nip that in the bud. A child left alone will not move upward.

As a Church Member: I need to practice Matt. 18 and be willing to lovingly confront obvious sin. Not to remove a speck where I have a log, but in love have a conversation. I also need to be willing to hear rebuke from others.

I am so thankful for Coach Yancey and his ministry and I pray that God would grant His grace for me to grow in this area.......

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