Notes on Failure

Gorgeous golden sunlight beamed through the window. Birds were chirping nearby and the fresh scent of fall drifted through the open window. I opened my eyes slowly, slipped out of bed to grab a cup of steaming coffee…

dreamy mornings start like this

Oh wait, no I didn’t. That was a dream. A very beautiful dream that was very far from reality. Yesterday was anything but golden and peaceful with a youth event, med school study group, and other activities going on after church (day to rest I know I know…) that were anything but organized. And there was no coffee. All day. And medical students especially hate no coffee, being disorganized, and feeling like a failure.

The story goes something like Tyler and I were brainstorming as youth coordinators on how achieve better interaction with the older generation in our church. We came up with the idea of Church Grandparent Adoption. Older members would be adopted by a youth and have several structured interactions with mentorship conversations. Brilliant right? Welll….Once we finally recruited enough people to participate, we scheduled our first luncheon. Details below with a couple of lessons we learned yesterday as we introduced the mentor-mentee pairs:

Planning is Everything
Planning is the grease that keeps the engine running. Yesterday we chose to meet at a local chicken place for lunch, but we did not anticipate the noise from the Sunday lunch crowd or the logistics of seating. It made for tight quarters and difficult to hear conversations. Next time, Tyler and I plan to have a conversation where we think through each aspect of an event and plan locations based on what we actually need (quiet space) instead of supposed convenience.

Sometimes Planning isn’t Enough
For something to work, you need willing hearts. To our surprise many of the older people at church simply had no desire to work with the youth. They retired community claimed they were just too busy. The youth responded similarly. Even during the lunch with the participants we had kids on their phones, interrupting other student’s conversations, ignoring their mentors, running back to sit with their family elsewhere in the restaurant. We were appalled! No respect, no desire to learn, nothing. In the future we plan to invest more in prayer about the situation and try to feel out better the attitudes of people. Maybe by asking what would interest them or by planning something more interactive we can cultivate a love for people of other generations.

Patience Is a Virtue
The book of Proverbs doesn’t say this verbatim but is is a true statement. We cannot get frustrated by human shortcomings whether our own or other people’s. Patience applies to all realms of our work and life, not just volunteer work or church functions. We have to trust that God is working everything out in His time and work diligently in the meantime. And put a little more effort forth in organization and planning…

Tulsa cityscape

So yes, yesterday’s event wasn’t exactly a success by our standards, but that is not what is important.  Everyone learned something, even if it was what not to do, golden sunrises not required. <3

How do you work in your family and community to make events run smoothly or cope with “failures”?

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