"Just love those kids."

This weekend, I was putting the finishing touches on two more new pieces for the Confirm not Conform program: a Quick Start Guide if you need to get started RIGHT NOW, and an Alternate Use guide for suggestions on how to adapt and pick sessions for your context. And as I wrote suggestion after suggestion of "do this, don't do that, be sure to remember..." I felt terrible, thinking how overwhelming this must be on the receiving end.

And then I remembered my own experience starting up a new program. I was fresh out of seminary and had been hired to be the Episcopal Chaplain at Kenyon College. For help, I went to visit the Rev. Sam Portaro, who was then the chaplain at the University of Chicago (that's one of his books pictured there). Listening to all his wonderful, practical suggestions on running a chaplaincy, I think I took 8,000 pages of notes. At the end, looking through them all, I was overwhelmed with the tasks ahead of me: setting up databases, creating a communications system, arranging for a calendar of programs... 

Then Sam stopped, looked at me and said, "Just love those kids."

I went back and did set up the database and the calendar and the communications. But I've never forgotten, and hope I've never neglected, that one vital piece of advice. And so I pass along to you what I have learned: Just love those kids. Everything else comes from that.