Jonathan's Answers to Tough Questions
I do not have a question. Just wanted to voice my concern on how you responded to the question on the mooners. As far as I could read, never did you state if it was right to let the parent know of the mooners or not. Can you be more specific. Is it it a yes or no to tell the parent that their child was mooning others, once you get back to church or home from the trip. Please let me know......Thank you and God Bless you.
Rudy, Fort Worth
Thanks for the email. And, by the way, I love Fort Worth. One of the better cities I've visited in the U.S. People are incredibly polite there. Is it because you are allowed to carry side arms in Texas?
As for your question. (and YES- you DID have a question!) Ah . . . good catch. I dealt with the issue of "how to deal with the upset parent" but never on "how do you know when to tell the parent their student was bad?"
This can be a tough call. And, to make matters more difficult, you have different expectations of different students. For example. An outreach kid who is allowed to do anything in his home might be allowed to smoke, cuss, sleep at his girlfriends, etc. Are you expected to call up his parents when you overheard him saying "damn." Contrast that with a kid that is a strong believer from a strong Christian family in your church. What if you catch him doing something bad? And how bad do they have to be before you call up mom and dad?
Your job as a shepherd is to expose these students to Christ, help these students grow in their faith, and hopefully equip them to reach others. What is the best way to do this? Do you need to run to mom and dad every time they step out of line? Or is there an expectation for you to handle some of this yourself?
I think every parent and youth worker would agree that certain behaviors are expected to be dealt with by a youth worker or teacher. No report needs to be printed out at the end of each day detailing every time each student talked out of line, gossiped, said cruel words, forgot his or her Bible, etc. The question is, "What actions demand parental involvement?"
I can not give you a black and white line on that question. Different parents have different expectations. But I tell you this, "I have a lot higher expectations from my Christian student leaders than I do my outreach kids." And "mooning" a bunch of people would probably cause me to at least suspend a student from student leadership. At this point- I might tell the student to tell his or her parents why he or she was removed. Or, I might do it myself.
Communication with parents is crucial, especially in the church. But at the same time, we are trying to build trust with students, and raise them to make mature decisions and young men and women. We can't run to mommy and daddy with everything. The key would be clear parental communication up front. This communication will help you determine what kind of communication they expect throughout the year.
Hope that helps.