Yesterday was the day. Time for my 13 year-old son, Kaleb, to ride the London tube by himself for the first time. He’s been riding the bus (a double-decker red London bus – not a yellow school bus!) to school by himself for two years, so he had some experience and was ready to move up to the next level of transport in the city.
He was invited over to spend time with his good friend, AJ Patel, who lives in Hounslow which is about 9 miles from our house in Shepherd’s Bush. Normally not a bad 30 minute drive but on Friday afternoon before Christmas, I was not in the mood to fight the traffic. Time for Kaleb to ride the tube.
I taught him how to ride in three simple steps: Instruct, Model and Guide.
Instruct – pass along the relevant information
My first step was to verbally communicate the information Kaleb needed to get from Shepherd’s Bush to Hounslow. Which train to take, where to look for the signs, what door to exit, etc. He need some basic knowledge so we reviewed this before we left home.
Model – show how it is done
To get to Hounslow from Shepherd’s Bush, you have to take two trains – the Hammersmith & City to Hammersmith and then the Picadilly to Hounslow. This provided me the perfect opportunity to model for Kaleb how to ride the tube. Of course, he’s ridden the tube many times before, but this time, he rode with intentionality. I was with him as we checked our Oyster cards, and looked for the correct platform and observed tube etiquette (let people off before you get on, no loud talking, etc.)
Guide – help along the way
Finally, Kaleb was ready to ride the Picadilly line to Hounslow by himself. Thankfully, we both have phones so I was about to guide him along the way. “Remember to get the train headed to Heathrow”, “Text the Patels from Osterly” and “Hounslow West is your stop” where all reminders of what we had already discussed but were now reinforced while in the process of actually riding the tube.
This same pattern should repeat itself in many other areas as we seek to pass along skills to the next generation. Over the years, I’ve seen my father raise up many new bible study leaders again and again. He discusses how to lead a group as he models leadership in the small group. Over time, the leadership is passed on as he steps into the background to guide.
At New City our desire is to raise up new leaders for the next generation. As part of our strategy, we brought on board a pastoral apprentice, Oong Lee, who joined us in September. Oong is developing as a preacher so we are following these same steps:
Instruct – we’re reading Bryan Chapell’s book “Christ Centered Preaching” together
Model – he’s attending New City with an eye on the preacher
Guide – we go over his sermons before and after to edit and evaluate
If we skip one of these steps, problems may occur. Crucial mistakes, discouragement, or even a breakdown in the relationship can happen if we are not willing to take the time and effort needed to pass along skills younger people need.
What skills do you have? Are you passing them along to the next generation?
Is it time for you to Instruct, to Model and to Guide?