Response to a student is critical. Sometimes, we tend to react. We don’t form the right words or the right approach, we jump to conclusions, fly off the handle and hit the fan. We need to stay calm and respond.
First of all, we should respond to students (parents and leaders) when things are going well, not just when things are going badly. Respond with encouragement and “gold stars” when the leadership team has accomplished something together, when you hit a milemarker in the ministry, or when someone does something great. Anytime you can give students encouragement, do so. Let them know you noticed. Responding to the good things will help set up your responses when the tough things happen.
When students come to you with a deep issue, don’t be shocked, respond with grace and love. Life is hard. Students are going through things you have never experienced, even if you’ve had a rough life yourself. Their pain and struggle is real and they need you to respond to them in the proper way. Responses aren’t always easy. At times, our response is to get them more qualified help, should the issue be that deep. Responses aren’t always words either. There are times when students need someone to listen. They need someone to understand.
In the case of discipline, respond firmly, consistently and lovingly. Reaction is is opposite of firm, consistent and loving. You never know how something will react. I heard a guy once say, “plants and chemicals react; humans respond.” If a student gets a “reaction” from you, she will probably will try to do it more often. If you respond thoughtfully, you will probably get better results in the long run.
In what ways do you need to respond to someone or something today?
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2 thoughts on “Youth Workers: Respond, Don’t React.”
Positive reinforcement and praising kids when they do the right thing is very important. It can be effective in helping them learn and grow. When you only respond to children when they do wrong, they might act out just to get a response. Interact with kids when they do good as well and let them know they are doing the right thing.
thanks for your comment – you’re right!