space: (noun) the amount of area, room, surface, etc., that is available for use; origin: middle english, first known use 14th century

I got stood up this morning.

Now, I got a lovely, quiet breakfast to myself with my favorite strawberry jam, but I still got stood up.

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It’s a strange occurrence that emotionally takes you back to high school for a minute or two.

I get stood up more than most in my line of work. Any youth worker knows the feeling. You can’t take it personally. It’s not about you. Or maybe it is. But typically not.

You plan to meet a youth or you plan event and the youth that say they are coming just don’t show. It happens. More than you would like to think. But, it’s part of the gig.

Creating space sometimes means that people don’t want or need that space at the moment. Or, that they need a different space.

We have been trying out some new summer programming and the attendance has been less than exciting. Hey, it’s an experiment. You can’t take it personally. It’s a learning moment. Youth are busy, they have part-time jobs, family vacations, summer programs for school, sports, etc. and those are the spaces they occupy. It’s a lot to fit in for one person. And they have to decide what spaces they want and need on a daily basis, just like adults.

Youth don’t always need the spaces that we try to set up or create for them. Part of growing up is understanding spaces and learning your needs. And you are not always their need.

I know, that’s a hard pill to swallow.

Youth don’t always need us, the youth workers and youth pastors. We are the people who have dedicated our lives to their betterment, and they don’t always need us.

If that last piece just struck a blow to your ego, get out of this business. You will be miserable and you are probably in this for yourself. I can’t explain how many youth workers I meet who are in it for themselves. It’s about them and the attention they need.

No, it’s not.

It’s not about you.

So, you have to be comfortable with being stood up sometimes.

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