“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” (Bill Nye)
If everyone you meet knows something you don’t, then you should learn something from everyone you meet. Even from the people who are only in your life for one brief encounter, and especially from the people you spend time with regularly.
I can say with certainty that I have learned a ton from my Youth Ministry team.
From Eric, I learned technology tips that will make my life easier…such as how to incorporate videos from YouTube into powerpoint so I can show clips at youth group. I learned about playing the drums. I learned how to set up sound systems and how many chords you need and what they are used for. I learned lots of anti-jokes, including one about Cinco de Mayo and another about genetics.
From Charissa, I learned about growing up in Singapore – the education system, the graduation tests, the weather, the houses, the transportation, the foam snow at Christmas. I learned about the Marianist charism. I learned how to give honest responses and feedback in a “pastoral” way (i.e., kindly and patiently, not forcing your opinions on them or making them feel inferior).
From Joe, I learned about beards. I learned about deer hunting. I learned about sword making and woodworking. I learned about his family’s secret recipe for goetta. I learned about the homeschooling experience and about seminary.
From Sam, I learned about ice cream…especially the deliciousness of Coldstone and of Milford Parlor’s coffee with ice cream in it. I learned more about Harry Potter than I ever knew before. I learned what it’s like to be a “military brat” and live all over the US. I learned things from her pastoral ministry courses, such as the stages of grief, what the difference is between a chapel and a church, and what canon law says about sacraments and other things.
From Steve, I learned how to be more extraverted on retreat. I learned that God is in the interruptions. I learned to remember to think from a “50 thousand foot perspective”. I learned how to play and then how to lead Ships & Sailors. I learned a new way to think about a pray through the Sign of the Cross. I learned how to utilize the flow of a retreat or event, to manipulate the energy levels of the kids by singing certain songs or doing specific types of activities, and how to intentionally set up a space. I learned about the history of youth ministry in the Cincinnati area, and made connections with current youth ministers.
From each one of them, I learned different ways to pray. I learned how to plan a retreat, and all the details to be aware of. I learned how to give an effective and engaging witness talk. I learned how to adapt songs and activities depending on your needs or the theme. I learned how to have fun and be productive at the same time. I learned that how you do something is not as important as doing it all together. I learned about the beauty of being a part of a team instead of going solo. I learned how to be a team player instead of a team leader. I learned to trust the experiences and opinions of others.
I learned how quickly total strangers can become close friends.
And I learned how blessed I am to have this opportunity to know and work and have fun with them.