Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Experience Teaches

If you know me in a youth ministry context, you know that I'm a pretty big fan of the Simply Youth Ministry crew and of Saddleback's High School Pastor, Josh Griffin.  Josh posted a pretty awesome list of thoughts he's acquired in his years of working with students.  You can find his whole post here: More than Dodgeball.com  Here's a few of my favorites:

  • You have to be willing to learn about the teenage brain and how they think. To know who GaGa, Gandolf, Gryffindor, and Garret Gilbert are because they matter to your students.
  • You have to learn how to listen and when to talk, how to not act shocked when you hear of the details of some kid’s lives, and how to convey emotion over Facebook chat.
  • You have to learn how to be (or at least seem) interested in stories that really don’t make sense.
  • You have to know what it means when Master Chief is in his cryo-tube and when the ACOG scope for the FAMAS gets unlocked in your third prestige.
  • You have to learn the names of all your students, and never ever call them by their sister’s name, even though they are identical twins. You have to learn how to remember the joys amid the deep disappointments, remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes, and always expect the unexpected.
  • You have to know how to Tweet, update, upload, post, poke, promote, and share, sometimes all at the same time. You have to know to avoid what’s so fifteen minutes ago and be aware of what’s cool today. You have to know that you are NOT 16 years old anymore and dress, speak, and style your hair accordingly.
  • You have to know how to say no, and when you have to say yes even though you really don’t want to. You have to know how to clean up messes (both literally and figuratively), and how to say sorry. You have to learn how to appreciate those who may never appreciate you. You have to learn how to sound smart even though you have no idea what you’re saying. You have to learn how to keep your promises and not make one unless you can.
These are great reminders to me.  Here are a couple that I've thought of for myself:
  • I need to know when to engage a student or when to let something slide.  
  • I have to know how the words I say (or don't say) can hurt/turn off a student.  
  • I need to learn that just because I think something, that doesn't mean other people know I'm thinking it.
  • I need to learn that students need more than a person who organizes/leads their Wednesday night worship time, but they need a friend who does life with them and hangs out with them, just because they can
My list could keep going, but I think that's a good start.  What are a few of the things you have learned?


  1. this was a good post. puts things into perspective. i love you lots!