A New Normal for Convoy by Mike Saylor

I’ve always heard that it takes about six weeks to develop a habit (whether good or bad). After that period of time what had been new and different becomes normal and routine. I’m not so sure.

It’s probably the Lutheran in me (Lutherans don’t easily embrace new and different!) but as we approach the sixth week of the Village Ministry Center’s after school program this new (and very good!) habit doesn’t yet feel normal—and I’m okay with that.

I don’t make it to “the building” (as I call it) everyday, but I am there a lot. I’m there, frankly, because it’s so cool to see what’s going on. Every day we have someone new stop in. (We’ve had over 30 different students participate in our program thus far.) Mostly its kids just stopping by on their own as they head home from school (Word does get around the Village that we give kids a snack!) but more and more we see a parent bring in their child, explain to one of the volunteers the help their child needs, and then place their child into our hands.

The parent is often nervous at first (as we all are when we’re doing something new) and so is the child. But that nervousness doesn’t last long.

There’s an interesting social dynamic going on with the kids here. They get along really well. When they aren’t doing their homework, they sit and talk with each other or they color and write on one of our whiteboards or they pull out a game or puzzle to play. And often they try to convince the volunteers to provide them with an extra snack or two!

It’s just kids being kids with adults who listen and show they care about them. It’s relaxed, comfortable, secure. It’s a safe place for them. It’s pretty cool—really cool. It’s a habit I could get used to.

Someone told me the other day that they’ve developed the habit of counting the bicycles that are in front of the building every afternoon. I was glad to hear that because I do the same thing. This is a new thing for Convoy, isn’t it? This is our new normal. I sure prefer to count kids’ bikes rather than closed-up buildings. Those bicycles carry our future, and it’s great to see the future of our Village in the center of the Village.

And just one more thought on this new habit that is the VMC. A few months back when the building was being remodeled, an Amish work crew was there constructing a couple of walls for us. They would spend their lunch hour over at Remedy. One of the older members of the crew was talking to the server about the VMC and what we were hoping to do with the building and he said, “You are doing God’s work. You will see great things happen!”

I remember hearing about his words spoken at the bar that day, and all along I’ve hoped they would be true. Six weeks into the new normal that is the Village Ministry Center, I believe those words are true. We are seeing great things happen. Come on by some afternoon and see for yourself. It just might become habit-forming.