Every student got the flu… really bad.
This was the quick story I shared with our church’s youth pastor last week, right before we were about to do something short-sighted.
He’d be leading one of our student groups through a popular curriculum for the past few weeks. It just so happened that the suggested game for this particular week resembled a game I’d led 15 years ago in another youth group.
It involved teams taking turns sticking their faces into a tray of flour… to find sour gummy worms.
Back in the day, I did something similar (the only difference being that I used gummy bears, and we did it all as one team). Where I was short-sighted then?
One of the kids in our youth group had the flu. Within 24 to 48 hours, I learned that a majority of Our youth group had also started developing dramatic symptoms.
I’m not a doctor. I have no idea if the flu can translate that quickly, nor am I aware of any studies involving the transmission of germs involving healthy kids opening their mouths to sift through flour that a sick kid has also openly-mouthed. If such a case did exist, my guess is you’d find a short-sighted youth worker involved.
(Again, allow me to raise my own hand on this.)
Which is exactly why after our youth pastor explained the game and begin to move the trays to another table I covertly snuck up to him and explained how what we were about to do was not in the best interests of any of the kids… all ebola news headlines aside.
The catch? I didn’t want to make him look foolish in front of the students. My suggestion was the concept of the game could be saved with a simple adaption – plastic utensils. We gave the kids the option of a fork or a spoon, and the game played on… all the way right up to the takeaway of how sometimes finding the sweetness in life takes some digging.
His reply? “That’s one of the reasons why I love that you volunteer here.”
My wife’s reply, later on in the night? “There’s one more difference. This time, our kids are a part of the youth group. I’m a bit steamed this almost happened.”
Take this as a lesson learned, however you’d like.
- Where in your student ministry do you see little slips like this that could (if left unchanged) affect your overall credibility as a youth group or as a youth worker?
- Any takeaways or stories on being confronted in private versus publicly on something?
– Tony / @tonymyles