It happened again. Two Sundays in a row. After a twelve hour day with its three separate programs in two parishes end of the weekend sort of day. Minimal lunch, dinner far too long overdue. Ten pizzas were delivered, but I did not get a slice.
And yet again… there I am: Sitting with a kid waiting for late parents to show.
What a blessed opportunity!
It gave me a chance…
TO STOP AND BE AT PEACE Seriously, it was a beautiful Autumn’s evening. Clear, starry, moon-lit skies. An ever so gentle breeze swirling leaves around the plaza and the parking lot. There was nothing more important to do than to just wait. Breathe. Be at peace. Offer a silent prayer.
LISTEN Hey, I am an introvert, so, of course, “be at peace” ranked high. But, I did the check-in with the kid as well. I did the usual set on innocuous questions but really worked at listening in between the answers. I listened to determine what I was learning about the individual as well as all the kids. But, most importantly, I listened because kids always deserve someone to listen to them.
SHOW MERCY It is not easy to parent. There can be a million good reasons why a parent might be later. (And there is also likely a handful of bad reasons as well.) All that does not matter. Our job as a youth minister is to partner with parents. Of course, we need to address an ongoing pattern, but, in both of the cases about which I write, these are one-time offences. This was an opportunity to show grace, to be an agent of mercy. No grumbles, no scowl, just a smile, a wave, and a standard “no worries” response when the parent has the good manners to say “thanks.”
After a twelve hour day with its three separate programs in two parishes end of the weekend sort of day – ending in “Thanks” ain’t necessary a bad way to end the day. It is just shorthand for “Well done, good and faithful servant.”