That moment when a students voice cracks, or a kid says something really inappropriate without even knowing it. Students live in a world surrounded by awkwardness. Because we as youth workers work with students, we by extension live in a world of awkwardness. How we choose to address this awkwardness is up to you.
Personally I love to live in the awkwardness. And I get to be around it a lot. Two quotes just from last week are:
***Readers be warned, potty humor below***
“I love the smell of my own farts, I mean who doesn’t”“If I had to choose to be hairy or bald I’d choose hairy because think of the different hair styles you could do”
Now I think that these awkward moments present youth workers with a choice. You can laugh at the students, laugh with the student, or make them feel loved.
When one of my students talked about smelling their own farts, some of my other students started to make fun of them. Thats when I joined in and made a joke about how it’s hard to dislike your own brand. Once I said that everyone joined in talking about liking the smell of farts (both guys and girls).
By joining in with that student, I turned a moment from being a negative experience towards one of being a community building experience.
I think moments like these we have to think about the experience of the student. If they get made fun of, they may feel like an outsider. Now I will admit there are some awkward moments that are just about impossible to recover from. But, I will tell you that by having a youth leader step in to help the situation a student may forever be grateful.
I was once a awkward teenager, and I had a youth leader who helped with the awkward things, and another who made an awkward situation worse once. And after that moment I struggled with listening to a thing the one pastor said because I lost a level of trust with him. But the other who helped in awkward situations I hung on his every word, because he had my back and cared for me.
When I think about which youth worker I want to be like, I want to be the one who steps into the awkwardness and takes part to help a student out.
How do you deal with awkward situations in your ministry?
Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle