Totally Catholic Youth Ministers Lounge

Are you in youth ministry and you've had it with crazed parents? Rollin' your eyes at the pastoral council? Tired of administration work? Love youth? Love the Church? Appalled at parish politics? Looking for some good games? For a creative ways to teach a lesson for Religious Ed? Just need a place to veg out and say "phew! Someone outside of the parish to talk to!"? Grab y'r Starbucks, turn the computer away from the staff's eyes, grab a seat on a donated dusty couch and let it all go.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Shooting Yourself In The Foot

Had an encounter with a mother that really made me crazed.

She was upset-no furious-that the time of last year's Confirmation program was changed and there was no official note or announcement about it.

Ok, for starters, I checked with the liturgical director and asked if I should do this. She said that since everything at the parish always starts at 7:30 everyone will arrive for this time. I had mistakenly put the starting time at 7:00, but quickly changed it when I found out that "everything here starts and has always started at 7:30pm" I let all the teachers know and asked them to remind the students of the time change. One catechists said "Oh, it was at 7? I'm glad you said something, I was already planning on coming at 7:30". It's that ingrained at this parish, you almost don't even have to tell folks what time to sign up. If it's at the Church, it's at 7:30.

But this woman-whose family come faithfully to Mass and is very involved in the Church was beside herself angry with me for changing it and not putting out a formal announcement. Let me also add that her son had been spotty at class because of baseball-a fact that mom and dad were not pleased with, nor was the son, but the coach was absolutely insistant on the kid's attendance at practice. Very unusual for this family. But at any rate, kid was not always in class.

So, if you aren't in class, or your son isn't able to make it to class, get the updates. I mean really-I had a very hard time understanding her controlled wrath. I apologized up one side and down the other and chose not to engage her in any of the above reasoning. But talk about priorities.
Really? This is what you chose to be upset over? Really? Why not be upset that the "Catholic" colleges that your other sons are attending refuse to sign the statement of fidelity? That one of the institutes of higher learning is promoting that hideous "Va-Monologues"?

And you're mad at me???


Anonymous Catholic Cathy said...

Being from a large family myself, I think I can sympathize with this mother a bit. I know how hard my own mother worked trying to get schedules straight, finding the right balance between school, sports and church, and having to drive us around to all of them. Maybe something horrible happened. Maybe nothing horrible happened and you just happened to catch her on a bad mom day. Sure, she shouldn't have blown up at you for this small mistake. But you never know how bad she has had it some days.

And, truth be told, it was your fault for messing up the times in the first place. Also passing information word of mouth through teachers, to students and finally to parents is not always the safest bet for getting out a clear message. Generally it is easy to put an announcement in the weekly church bulletin. Some parishes even allow information like this to be distrubuted during announcements at mass.

So maybe she shouldn't have become so upset, but instead of getting bent out of shape over it, I would suggest trying to understand where she is coming from.

And just as a side note, as long as we are talking about priorities. Her priorities seem to be getting the lives of her children straight and making sure they get confirmed at the right time and at the right place. Where as it seems yours are off in the philosophically murky world of Catholic identity in higher education.

As John Stossel would say, "Give me a break!"

5:26 PM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

Except, as I mentioned everone around here knows that events start at 7:30, and this is a long time parishoner.

I'm saying "gimmie a break" because in the grand scheme of things I don't think her wrath was worth her trouble. Mention it to me, sure. But come to my office and seethe at me? Really?

I'd rather see parents get upset at larger issues, bigger blunders. Since her son wasn't in class it's their responsibility to get the information that was missed.

FWIW I understand the need to get parents correct information,esp when they have other children and schedules to keep track of. But in this case, when everyone else seemed to take it for granted that the time was "as it's always been" I think I'm justified.

My priorities are to serve the kids and their families. I get nuts when the yelling begins over small incidents. Starting later actually meant that she had more time with her family to get them ready! So why all the anger? Get mad at me if I gave you the wrong date for crying out loud! And never told anyone anything!

3:28 PM  

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