I was having a great chat with a teenager youth work volunteer last night. In a conversation that ranged through philosophy, ethics and psychology (he was a very switched on A-level student) we got to talking about how rewarding volunteering is …. and musing that some people just didn’t see that. We talked about how much we gain from helping others as opposed to only pursuing things that were of maximum and immediate benefit to ourselves.
Although there are some great Jesus principles in the above muse, what leapt to mind was Sidgwicks hedonistic paradox:
“The least effective way to achieve pleasure is to deliberately seek it out”
I’m not sure I can build this into a recruiting leaflet but I like it as a proposition. When we are training young leaders for camps and the like I talk about volunteering being twice the fun IF YOU can make the transition from receiving to serving. You have fun because it is fun, but you have even more fun because you see the fun others are gaining from what you are doing.
Do you ever read something and wish you’d written it? I don’t mean ‘cos the royalty cheque would be REALLY useful, I mean ‘cos it just kinda fits with what you were thinking about. Jacob and Brian (the brains behind Rethinking Youth Ministry) have come up with a great summary of what adults should know about young people, great stuff:
1) Teens are people, too. Resist calling them “kids” (unless you mean it as a term of endearment) or speaking about them as if they aren’t in the room.
2) Teens need time. Particularly during discussions, teens need a little time to think about what they want to say. Resist the temptation to jump in with “the right answer” and don’t feel you have to fill in every moment of silence with talking.
3) Teens like adults. Despite what you may remember from your younger days, teens do enjoy the companionship of adults. They just aren’t always sure that we like them so the can seem stand-offish at times. In fact, many are at a point in their lives when they are trying to put a little independent distance between themselves and their parents, so they are seeking other caring adults to serve as mentors and role models.
4) Teens have a lot to teach us. In many ways, “The Breakfast Club” got it right. Young people are unique individuals with unique talents, gifts, attitudes, and perspectives. It would be a mistake to lump them all together as one homogenous group.
5) Teens’ body clocks are different from ours. Most teens need 8-10 hours of sleep a night and get much less. Additionally, most teens are not at their peak until late morning and many are “night owls.”
Click through to RYM to read the full list.
More thoughts about disability inclusion, this time from the perspective of a teenager with a disability.
Including Young people
There is real frustration when people presume to know what their needs are without asking them. They hate people making decisions for them.
They get frustrated if people don’t communicate in an appropriate way. For example someone with a hearing impairment often needs people to look at them when they are speaking – it is no good just shouting. Understand what works best for that young person. Many young people with disabilities need an extra few moments to process information.
They hate being patronised. Taking part in games can be hard and some alterations and allowances need to be made, but they get fed up if they think people are letting them win.
They do need help doing some things, but they don’t want to be treated as special or different. They want to be part of the group with everyone else, to experience equal value, equal belonging and be equally contributing to the life of the group
What you know and understand about teenagers needs, hopes, fears and aspirations still applies regardless of whether they have a disability.
Announcement that the above will go ‘live’ in September, the salient info is here.
Love this wisdom from Mark Yaconelli, all credit to Rethinking Youth Ministry for posting this.
Driving through an obscure Oxfordshire village last week I missed my turn and thus had to use a farm gateway to turn around. Having driven in, I had to wait before reversing back onto the road as there was a car coming. I duly waited and was highly amused was that it was my old car I was given way to, weird?
Rye observation and much truth from Dave the wibmeister