Talk to me while I’m listening to you!

How do you communicate with someone? I was reminded recently that listening is the most important step.

I have been in youth ministry for more than twenty years now, and have worked hard across those decades to be able to communicate with youth. Saturday morning I was reminded that I still need to work at it.

We were at a meeting making plans for various youth events over the next several months. This particular learning opportunity came in the discussion over a flyer for a November event.

An adult (actually, me) had designed the flyer, and everyone seemed to like it. One youth, though, suggested that the contact information, which I had put at the very bottom, might be better about one-third of the way up the page. While I am usually open to such suggestions, I didn’t understand what difference it would make to move it.

The discussion over placement got more involved. I noticed, after a couple of minutes, that all the adults in the room liked to placement of information the way it was. All the youth, on the other hand, suggested they would like it better in the other location. Everyone remained calm, but it seemed the discussion was going nowhere.

That’s when the proverbial light bulb went off over my head. The intent of the flyer was to reach youth. ALL the youth at the table were in agreement on how that would work best in this case.

All of the adults there had given a great deal of time and effort to understand, work with, minister to youth. All of us were in agreement on how this flyer would best reach youth. All of us missed, at first, that these youth were telling us something.

I am so overwhelmed by the goodness of the gospel that I want everyone around me to understand it, accept it, and come to live within the loving embrace of God. As I continue to learn to listen to them, perhaps I will be better able to communicate in ways they will hear me.

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