Sunday, May 07, 2006

Parents Just Don't Understand

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd." - Voltaire

Whew - sometimes parents are really intimidating. I just got off the phone with one such parent and they just about raked me over the coals about "not enough details" with regard to the Senior weekend we have coming up. I didn't realize some people live in an alternate reality where their plans always work out perfectly. Also, they've been in the ministry for a while and have much more experience than I about outreach ministries. They didn't say that, but it was certainly implied. Whatever - got to have some tough skin sometimes.

In the end though, parents are the ONLY ones that understand - that need to feel comfortable about letting their kids go. Go out the door to the park. Go out to the library. Go to school where there are drugs, high powered vehicles with amateur drivers, and bad cafeteria food. Go on a missions trip to bless and serve someone they have never met. It's not my job to validate their decision. It is my job to tell them that we have done some reasonable planning and that careless risk is not part of the ethos. In the end, only they can decide. And sometimes, parents aren't interested in you trying to convince them. Don't worry, you will know within the first few minutes of the conversation.

Some may not agree with me, but spending your energy trying to convince and beg these parents for their students to participate may not be the best use of your resources.

And in case you are wondering, we have lots of details. We are working with a friend, and his ministry, who have lived in this area of town all of his life. His whole extended family has ministered in this community for decades. They would not bring students in if it was unsafe. I have at least five very capable adult leaders. I've got health forms, emergency contact numbers, copies of health id cards. I've personally led four trips to this city. [I'm still muttering to myself, "Let it go."]

Oh and one more thing... If you are a parent, try to take it easy on the people that sacrifice week in and week out for your children. They are on your side, they endeavor to grow and stretch your kids, and get them living lives of significance. Just like you, they want your kids to make a difference in the world. And you know as well as they do, sometimes that kind of life - and not just a weekend, but a whole life - requires some calculated risks and traveling down an alternate path. Your disposition while you interact with your kids' youthworkers speaks volumes.

Photo: To make up for such a caustic post, one of our Seniors, LR, on the Merry Go Round at Columbia Mall.

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