What does it feel like to be in front of a group and have open questions? Just imagine when you know they have tough questions; when they are going to question what you do. How does everyone look at you? Let me describe a question session and then how it changed my look.
On Thursday morning, Fr Deomar de Guedes (the number 3 man in the Legion and Regnum Christi) sat down in front of us to take questions regarding ECyD and Regnum Christi. And then they came… Questions about how ECyD works with Regnum Christi schools, about mixed activities with teens, about our experiences as Legionaries, Consecrated women, and dedicated Regnum Christi members.
This was not some nice formalized ceremony we prepared questions. It was a muck session bringing out all the difficulties and asking for solutions; or at least asking that the people in charge take our judgments into consideration.
The biggest area of doubts was about how we view others. Do we view them to the depths of who they really are? Do we accompany them like Christ does?
A look can transform. We were made in God’s image so when another looks at us it is like God looking at us. We each need to look at each other as God sees us. When I give such a positive look to teens, they will likely give it back while if I look down at teens it will be difficult for them to look at us positively.
But beyond that, this week has made me reflect how I see others I’m with. When I just look at that brother of mine as useless or I ignore another who I know needs help. I’m sure in marriage there are similar things with your spouse or neighbor. If we want to have a positive look for teens, we need to create a positive look all around.
When we see people as God does we can come down and accompany them like Christ accompanied us. This is far beyond being in the same place. 2 people could spend the same hour each week in grocery store, say hello to the same cashier but never accompany each other. Beyond just seeing teens as they are, we need to then treat them that way. We can’t treat them like one more, like the grocery store cashier you don’t know. We need to accompany them as friends, just like Jesus did.
In this sense being a youth minister is not a part-time job. If we want to help these teens, we need to do so with our lives. We need to see and accompany our family and friends in the same way.
Returning to Fr Deomar, you could see how he looked at us this way even as we pegged him with tough questions. Teens will peg us with tough questions and we can’t lose our calm. On one question, he admitted that personally he strongly believed one way but did not try to impose but instead tried to continue the discussion till we have a resolution on this issue. How often we would rather impose than guide teens but is that really what’s best for them?