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Teaching The Kid Some Manners

Last weekend I was in a pretty serious convsation with another leader. This conversation ended abruptly and prematurely by an interrupting student who wouldn’t quit saying my name until I turned from the conversation and gave him my undivided attention.

His interruption was to ask if I would notarize a form for him this week. I said he could come by my office. That 10-second mid-sentence interruption ended an important conversation.

Between then and the time he called today, I got to thinking about how to address this. He’s a good kid, but just short on manners and the ability to pick up on social cues. I decided he would get his paper notarized when he apologized to the other leader for killing our conversation. He owes me an apology, too, but I didn’t want to make this about me.

As frustrating as this is, I see it as an important ministry opportunity that could be easily missed. Self-absorbed students need our help to bring discipline into their lives. Seasoned youth workers use these missteps as a chance to teach skills and helps them realize the error of their ways. I definitely fumbled this ball when I was just starting out in youth ministry. If I hated this kid, I wouldn’t have corrected him. However, I want the best for him so I point out where he’s socially inept and give him the opportunity to gain some humility and develop some manners.

About 5 minutes ago I got an email from Josh Griffin, the other youth worker, saying he got the apology text message from the student. Youth ministry accomplished.