It is easy as youth workers to get bent out of shape when we don’t get recognized for something we did. There’s nothing more painful than to be forgotten in the wake of the other initiatives and projects of the church. At times, affirmation seems to be elusive. In fact, sometimes we tend to feel that we hear only criticism.
Knowing and experiencing this reality on a regular basis should give youth workers cause to develop these muscles to be used on a regular basis. Here are three things you probably don’t get enough of that we need to make sure as youth workers we give out generously:
Follow-up after the fact
Who needs a call back this week? What email has been sitting in the bottom of your inbox that needs a reply? What made it on your task list but sits there with persistence week after week? Who did you promise something to but haven’t delivered on? Follow-up is a scarce commodity in our fast-paced, disorganized world.
Be great with “thank you”
Who needs a note from you this week? Can you crank out a couple of emails that would mean the world to people who receive them? Who did something for you that needs to be appreciated? Build this into your routine of the week, or chances are you’re unintentionally burning bridges behind you if you say nothing after the ask.
Affirm all of the time
To me, this is different than thank yous—thank yous are for people who have given you something and need to be appreciated for something they did. Affirmation is for who someone is. It is an appreciation of their legacy and character that is making an impact. Affirmation is also an ultra-powerful way to build up someone’s self-esteem.
Take a second and create a short list of people who need one of these actions this week.