I found these in Youthwork magazine last month and they made me laugh. I’ve stuck a copy up on my office wall as I think they’re just as relevant for full time youth workers as they are for volunteers. And number 10 is about as true as it gets.
The Volunteer Youth Workers 10 Commandments
- Thou shalt not be easily angered or wound up, especially when a young person asks you for the tenth time why there are no curly-wurlys in the tuck shop this week.
- Thou shalt not try to pass yourself off as cool and ‘in touch’ by the wearing of an unsuitable fashion like that Taio Cruz T-Shirt you thought would impress everyone. You’re 52 years old, get over it.
- Thou shalt not ask endless questions since that’s the job of parents and is very annoying if you’re 15.
- Thou shalt not pretend to like stuff you don’t, as in ‘Yeah, I love Rachel from Glee too,’ as it’s painfully obvious to anyone that you couldn’t pick them out from a line up if your life depended on it.
- Thou shalt not try and turn every conversation into an evangelistic opportunity since the link between winning at Connect4 and finding salvation is tenuous at best.
- Thou shalt get involved in everything with enthusiasm and be prepared to play, have fun, and occasionally be silly. Standing at the side and watching when games are being played is not good.
- Thou shalt be honest about your own faith, including the bits where it turns out you’re not exactly perfect and yes, sometimes you have doubts too.
- Thou shalt remember a young persons name when they tell you it since it’s hard to believe you really care if you can’t even get that right.
- Thou shalt listen and make teenagers feel like you’re actually interested in them as a person without butting in with your own stories all the time.
- Thou shalt pray like crazy for the wisdom, compassion and energy you’ll need to be a youth worker and remind yourself daily that it’s about a great a privilege as you’ll get in this lifetime to hang out with these young people.