Everyone makes mistakes, and when it comes to my youth work I’ve made some clangers! Hopefully by reproducing them here, it may give you a bit of a laugh and help you to avoid doing the same thing.
Mistake #3: Believing everything I’m told
I’m not sure about you, but I can sometimes be quite gullible. I guess this can be seen as a positive (at least, I like to think of it that way) because it means that I naturally trust other people and assume that they are honest and reliable. However, this has caused me to come unstuck a few times…
One incident occurred when I was running an event for teenagers and my line manager told me an unlikely but plausible story about a visiting dignitary attending that day. I was informed I would have to brief my team and be prepared for a security entourage when this individual arrived including a ban on mobile phones and cameras. It was only later when the manager gleefully announced to a huge team of staff and volunteers that he had tricked me, did I realise the date was April 1st. Aside from a bruised ego, that prank was pretty harmless.
Far more problematic is when I have been lied to by young people. A number of years ago I took a group of teenage boys swimming to an adventure pool. In the minibus on the way home, some of the lads were talking about a brand new mobile phone they had seen at the swimming centre. A couple of them were also hinting strongly that Pete, one of the boys, had stolen it. When we got back I took Pete aside and asked him directly about the phone. His answer was cagey, so I asked him again. This time he took offence that I would question his integrity and spontaneously turned out all his pockets to prove his innocence. Aside from some loose change, some cigarettes and a lighter there was no evidence of any phone. He told me that he had seen the phone because some guy had left it in a jacket in the changing rooms, but they went and found the owner who gratefully recovered his belongings. Pete’s story was consistent with what the others had said. Besides, he looked really aggrieved that he had been accused of something. I thanked him for his honesty and off he went. It was only by chance that as I drove round the corner, I saw Pete reach down his sweater and pull out a brand new top-of-the-range Nokia!
So what about you? Have YOU ever trusted what someone has told you only to be let down later? Share with us in the comments!