I traveled to Rwanda in February-March 2023 with my son, Richard to do some leadership training. I was surprised by something I didn’t expect. The day after our arrival, in a church, a man stepped out and grabbed my shoulders. “I’ve been waiting to meet you,” he said (I found out later he was the family pastor). “I’ve read your 12 Tasks book and I’m using it with my son. It is wonderful.” 

The next day I found out we had been recruited to speak to one-hundred-and-twenty mothers who were gathering to hear more about this father and son rite of passage. (It was also designed with mothers and daughters in mind.) The leader bubbled over as she spoke of the potential impact this could have on the sons and daughters of Rwanda. For me, the 12 Tasks which Shel and I had developed for our children, and then captured in a book, was something good but here was a roomful of African parents thinking it was revolutionary for them.

Richard is a powerful communicator and he swayed the crowd with the impact on him and on his sons. My role was to focus on the twelve compelling reasons for doing the 12 Tasks as listed in the book. They are:

  1. You believe that healthy young adults matter to our future.
  2. You clearly see a growing crisis among our youth.
  3. You recognize the crucial role of a parent or adult figure in helping a young teen transition into adulthood.
  4. You understand that many cultures find markers to transmit their values and beliefs.
  5. You are willing to invest time and energy into your own young teen’s future.
  6. You want something tailored to your own young teen which will bring out their strengths and giftings.
  7. You realize the importance of community in raising our next generations.
  8. You want to build positive virtues and critical skill sets into your young teen.
  9. You want to encourage spiritual growth and development into the heart of your young teen.
  10. You recognize that you are an ordinary adult with something to share and something to learn with your young teen.
  11. You want to encourage parents and young teens to care for others through shared experiences.
  12. You enjoy sharing ideas and experiences with others who are in the same stage of life.

The family pastor I had met in church was at the event. He’d been to Canada and even been to Richard’s home where he saw what my grandsons were doing with their tasks. He took a book back to Rwanda for his son and thus his comments. He heartily endorsed the book and the 12 Tasks to all the women in attendance. 

In the days after, I had mothers asking specific questions about dealing with their sons and daughters. Perhaps this is the next step for our 12 Tasks community. To provide support to those going through the challenges. If you think this is a good direction, let us know. We want to be there for you if needed.

Something is happening with this 12 Tasks. Other ex-pats began to email and say they too would like copies of the book. It seems that word of mouth is the best way to promote this. We’d love it if you are a participating parent who can spread the word. We’d also love it if you get the book and can write a positive review about your experiences with 12 Tasks.