It is understandable that when a friend needs help that we want to try to be there for them. We say yes when we really don’t have the time. We commit months in advance. Then, we forget either because we didn’t write it down or it just completely slipped our mind (maybe because what they needed wasn’t our top priority). What do you do when you offered to help out with something but now find that you won’t be able keep your word and follow through? It is really simply. Just be up front about it.
There was a project I recently agreed to work on. After getting all the subsequent meeting dates, I realized my current schedule did not allow me to make the commitment needed to complete the project successfully. I wrecked my brain trying to see how I could make it all work. Although I was making real progress in keeping a balanced schedule, I had to come to terms that by agreeing to do this project I had overcommitted. In order to keep my balance I had to pull out of the project. Since I was looking ahead at my schedule I was able to let my friend know up front. If I had not done this early, I would have overexerted myself and disappointed my friend.
Keeping your word is important. It is a matter of showing someone respect for their time and it let’s them to know that they can count on you which in turns builds trust. If you can’t keep your word it is just best to be up front about it and just say it.
In an effort to be cool, many of our teens today are living out their lives on social media. They tag their locations, share provocative photos and share so much more with the world. Although social media providers have privacy settings that can help to limit who views your posts, there is always someone lurking behind the scenes.
I have additional safeguards for my daughter in addition to encouraging her not to tag her locations unless it is with a group or for special events. Some parents may feel their teens should be allowed privacy. I disagree. My daughter will get her privacy when she is living on her own and paying her own bills.
My spirit grieves when I hear the news of young teenage girls who are missing or the news of them being found murdered from a connection they made with someone on social media. This is why it is very important to know who are teens are connecting with on social media. Do you know what their latest posts are on Facebook? Do you know who their streaks are with on Snapchat? Do you know the latest story they are reading on Wattpad?
Wattpad stories and various social media posts can be pretty outrageous and some too much for a teenage mind to comprehend. I would rather my daughter have a conversation with me and ask me questions about what she is reading on social media rather than someone else. I would rather my daughter understand that knowing what she does on social media is a matter of safety and is beyond her personal privacy.
Yesterday I listened in on a youth group discussion and was shocked to hear a guest panelist berate one of the attendees because of where she attended school. As she sat with slumped shoulders, the adults in the room were noticeably uncomfortable with what was said. I made a response which I am sure wasn’t appreciated, but nor did I appreciate the response of the guest panelist. Although I understand the point the guest panelist was trying to make, our points can be made without having to belittle someone else.
Whether you are a guest panelist or motivational speaker, it is important that you know who your audience is. Trying to keep it “real” to make valid points should not be done at the expense of devaluing someone else. When you understand your audience you become sensitive to the needs of your audience and this by no means takes away from the passion you have regarding the topic.
The attendee of the group discussion did not need to be berated about where she attended school. What she needed was encouragement and support on how to approach a challenge she was facing at her school. Thankfully another guest panelist responded to her original question and provided her some guidance.
We can feel very strongly about a topic but we also need to be able keep our cool when giving responses. We can’t inspire our youth by berating them. We inspire them by leaving a positive impression. It would be an impression that leads them to be encouraged that they can make a difference at whatever school they attend. The words we speak should uplift. So the next time you speak, watch the words you speak!