APRIL Parent/Guardian Guide

Making the most of the drive home

Our brains love to categorize things. Categories set the context and rules; when we know the “rules,” we feel more in control and less stressed. For example, many people—myself included—dread a text that reads, “What are you doing Saturday?” Is it an invite to dinner? The movies? Will they ask me to help them carry heavy boxes down three flights of stairs to a moving truck? Even if we have no problem helping a friend move, our brain feels taxed. It wants to know what it’s agreeing to.


EQUIP BOYS runs a similar risk. Most adolescent education and programs are consistent and linear. The boys are developing a specific knowledge or skill, and there’s a clear desired outcome—a new color karate belt, performing a live play, promotion to the next grade, etc. The boys arrive at the category and understand what’s expected of them and what they must do to achieve the next level.


Unfortunately, EQUIP BOYS is hard to categorize. It’s not school; there are no grades. It’s not a sport or performance that requires practice and/or rehearsal. It’s not a church youth group that happens weekly at the same time and place. And though I’ve been a coach, teacher, and youth pastor, I am not any of those titles to them. And so, the initial value they held for EQUIP BOYS was borrowed from your belief that it is worthwhile for their development. That’s a fancy way of saying they came because you dropped them off. (Thank you, by the way!)


Over the past three months, and for some, it’s been a year in the making, they’ve learned a new category: mentoring. And I’m beginning to see that it makes sense to them—seemingly finding value in having adults beyond their inner family circle attempt to see, hear, and understand them, too. To be a context outside the home where their acceptance is not dependent on their performance.


However, there’s still some ambiguity surrounding the big-group gatherings. In professional speaking, we have a saying: “Everything speaks.” This means everything from how prepared the speaker is to the arrangement of the chairs says something to the participants. In our circumstance, when the boys arrive, it’s at a familiar location, usually the party spot, filled with their friends—and their behavior/energy has reflected such, lol. Which is totally to be expected! I have to get creative in repurposing this powerful space to elicit what it should: comfort/vulnerability without sacrificing their valuable time.


This is especially important as we begin phase II, which discusses brain health and emotions. During EQUIP BOYS tonight, we’re starting with the following two objects (adapted from Parent Cue):


  • Help the boys develop self-awareness. We’ve already discussed their identity via core values, strengths, and past experiences. Now, we’ll focus on how they feel on the inside, how their behavior affects others, and how to develop empathy.


  • Give the boys tools to understand and manage their emotions. Specifically, we’ll examine regulation, rules (boundaries), and repair.


Conversation starters for the ride home:

- How would you teach a friend the difference between reacting and responding?

- What did you learn about regulating emotions tonight?

- Are there specific triggers that cause your feelings to overflow?

- What activities help you feel calm and in control?

- What are some personal boundaries that are important to you?

- How will you respond when people cross those boundaries?

- Have you ever crossed someone else’s boundary? How did they feel about it?

- What does it/or did it look like to repair that relationship?

- How would you define your internal conversation about yourself? More negative or positive?

- How can you begin to speak more kindly to yourself?

- Knowing it’s important to talk about what you’re going through, who can you trust to share those feelings with?


  • Next open sports night: Friday, April 26th, 5pm - 6:30pm, Paia Ballpark.


  • Next (a special) EQUIP BOYS: Saturday, April 27th, 10am - 12pm, Twin Falls.


  If you still need to register your boy/s now, CLICK HERE