When sharing your heart with your youth band backfires and how to prevent it.
On at least one occasion, that I can remember, Zack and I had a run in with an unhappy youth parent because of word twisting. It is very easy for something like that to occur in a youth band because you are leading a group of students and you have to take charge sometimes. Which can sometimes lead to angering a youth. It doesn’t matter what the talk is about, if it is serious, most likely, words will get twisted.
Sometimes youth can feel like they are getting in trouble and take it the wrong way, even when your heart meant for constructive criticism or simply telling them something with only love in your voice. Words can get taken the wrong way, especially if someone is frustrated with you. If you are going to have a serious conversation with them, there are a few things you need to do in order for it to not backfire and explode in your face.
1. Do not do it over text
I know. In this day and age, everything is easier to do through text. Do not do this. Through text, they cannot hear your tone of voice and it is likely that it will get read wrong. I urge you not to have a serious conversation over text, really, with anyone. This is actually beneficial for friendships and relationships as well. Just say you’re welcome.
2. Have a sit down
This one sort of goes with the first point. There are two ways to go about this. Get the whole band together and share your heart as a whole, not pointing anyone out. This will allow the issue to not specify anyone out so no one feels attacked. Or you could go to someone in private if it’s more of a one on one issue with a specific youth. Make sure that you use your words wisely if you do the one on one talk.
If you think the student may find a way to twist the words or take something the wrong way, I’d even think about recording it just to be able to show someone if a problem were to occur. But most of the time it doesn’t get to this point. Just giving suggestions here. If you have a sit down with the youth, I’d see if another adult could be present or maybe even the youth pastor. You can never be too safe. Usually, youth don’t go crazy when you have a serious conversation. Like I said, I can only think of one time where that has happened to me but now I know how to prevent it.
3. Have scripture to back it if possible
If the issue is them being lazy about learning songs, there are scriptures about being lazy or not using your whole heart when doing things. If you are addressing some arguing that goes on between a couple of the musicians, there are bible verses about that. Use scripture, if possible, but make sure to use it in the correct context. Now if you are addressing something like “Don’t go to the bathroom during practice if possible,” then you probably don’t need to spend 4 hours looking for a proper scripture for that exact situation but if you want to, hey, scripture is awesome!
4. Ask them
I wouldn’t want any youth to think they can’t talk to me about something. At the end of the discussion, I’d take a few minutes just to ask them if they have any thoughts on the issue or anything to say, just so they don’t feel like you completely attacked them.
Those are a few things that you can do when sharing your heart with youth to make sure it doesn’t backfire on you. I wish you luck in all of your serious conversations to come! I pray you handle the situations with kindness and calmness, with little frustration. It’s easy to get frustrated, especially if you don’t address the problem, because then they don’t know they are doing something wrong so they keep doing it and it annoys you a little more every time they do it. They may not know they are doing it. Just let them know. Address it wisely and prayerfully.