youth ministry, youth worker

Allowing Failure to Work

By Doug Franklin April 27, 2011

A couple of years ago while I was volunteering in a youth group, the student leaders came up with a great idea to serve in our community; they wanted to make 200 blankets for foster kids. They thought they had all the supplies. The students had invited tons of friends and they were ready to make blankets. The big kick-off was just minutes away when they realized they didn’t have scissors. There was yards and yards of fabric that needed to be cut in order to make these blankets. We scrambled to find any kind of scissors we could. They finally found some in the third graders room. They were those dull kid scissors. Cutting the fabric was tough and the cuts were not exactly perfect. After the event we had a good time to celebrate and evaluate the experiences. Students were disappointed and frustrated that they had forgotten the scissors. We talked about preparation and navigating obstacles and students really seemed to understand the importance of thinking all the way through an event.

As adults working with these student leaders, we didn’t ask them if they had everything and then proceed to list out all needed supplies. We didn’t run get the scissors for the students and we didn’t rescue the students when one thing went wrong. We processed the experience with the students and asked them to make applications of what they had learned. We also celebrated a great night of leadership learning with them.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More