Template of Questions

I understand that people have the same fears that I do. I’m not alone in this world; everyone we talk to shares experiences with worry about relationships, finances, employment, family. We’ve heard it all before, and some advice may temporarily remedy the situation, but a lasting cure for our ailments is an elusive wish.

But sometimes, we surprise ourselves.

While I have been receiving internship information from Disney and Boeing lately, the scene behind the curtain is disheartening: to be honest, I have not sent in my resume to either company yet. As much as I grind my teeth over the fact, the doubt of capabilities and fear of rejection paralyze me from even my most carefully laid courses of action.

With this background in mind, I was fortunate enough recently to spend an evening with my long time friend Sean, who has recently delved into his own university experience with hopes of working as a high school youth ministry leader. I’ve hid a bitter distaste about his plans from him for some time, not because of my faith (of which I am a Christian as well), but because he has incredible talents in culinary arts that he seems to ignore, and because I often see youth ministry as one of the “go-to” professions for people who want an easy life with a lot of respect. Not to say theirs anything wrong with a respectful, easy life, but I believe that if someone has talents and refuses to use them for their designated purpose, then they’re basically slapping God in the face as if to say “I know what’s best for me more than you do.” I realize in full that this sounds stupid for me to say about someone that wants to go into ministry (and it may come as a surprise to my friends to hear read me say that), but for the past year or so I could not shake the thought that Sean may be going into this without the proper mindset.

We had a discussion that opened up with him talking about his new school and the experience he has gathered thus far. He described some of the classes he is enrolled in, tossing around some of the material he is reading about, when out of nowhere, I began to ask questions. These questions were all very open-ended, asking Sean specifics about his future career with children: which restraunt/park will he go to when he first meets the kids, where he will take them on their first overnight trip, etc.. At first, he  gave simplifed answers, as if he thought I was trying to irritate him. To the fortune of both of us, he picked up the challenge. I pushed deep into specifics, asking what game equipment he will bring with him, how he’ll pay for things, what will he prevent kids from taking on their trips, how he wants to manage his co-leaders. His answers increased in depth as we continued on, and I could see from his expressions that he was really digging mentally, despite his calm and firm responses. Finally, I asked about specific kids, and how he would handle situations; I posed questions about what he would say to kids if he caught them doing something wrong, or if they needed help, or how he would approach a fellow leader if they were out of line. He continued to answer, but this time, we pushed through solutions together, working off of one another, and piecing together the best possible answer to situations neither of us hoped to face in the future.

Overall, we had a wonderful time. Sean thanked me for making him answer these questions, stating that while they would undoubtably be important to his career goals in the future, his classes would not provide the challenge that I had given him in a few short questions. He was so grateful for the learning experience than neither of us saw coming.

But that wasn’t the whole experience!

Not only do I now look forward to Sean reaching his goal someday to be a youth minister, but I know that his heart is in the right place.  I even miss the time I spent with my junior high and elementary school kids when I used to be a leader, and have been thinking about going back again someday. Further, the experience relieved me of my own frustrations by putting myself mentally in an alien situation, setting aside all the small things in life that I spend too much time worrying on.

I realized shortly after that these questions are from the same template of questions that I often ask myself about my own goals, which I will need to use, along with the support of my family in friends, to make my goals with Disney and/or Boeing come true. The engineering mentallity I love is based on finding solutions to improve our quality of life in one way or another, and to bridge the gap to relate Sean’s desires with my own was a spectacular cure for self-deprecation and, more crucially, loneliness.

Today I woke up tired and broken, with zero desire to struggle once again through the daily grind. I had worries and fears about relationships, finances, employment, and family. Unfortunately, these problems will continue to live with us for the rest of our lives.  But I am not alone. We are not alone.

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~ by MichaelStaudenmeir on September 29, 2010.

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