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Old 01-29-2008, 09:02 PM   #1
Turning the Heel
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How do you make a dh smile?
Cuz I am at a loss just now.

He is terribly discouraged right now. He's a youth pastor...which means long hours, late nights, too much drama, and absolutely no thanks. Ever.

He is having a hard time right now and is just really having a hard time wanting to show up for work. He loves "our" kids with his whole heart, but lately, the drama has been too much, too stupid and he's just tired. Weary, really.

One of our kids told him he's not sure he will be coming back. We've spend the last 4 years with this kid...spent more time with him than I can even account for. He hasn't had a father figure at all, so he and dh have spent a LOT of time together, building things, putting together a band, etc.

Well, he's not the most functional person, and he has given us a lot of trouble too. We see a lot of promise in him, if he would ever get over himself and look around.

But right now, he's mad at dh for something that dh has no control over, and he's decided that he isn't going to be in the band anymore and may quit youth group entirely.

Dh is hurt and feels rejected.

Meanwhile, two other kids aren't showing up right now because dh had to talk to them about PDAs in the church (really, who sits on their boyfriend's lap during church?). He didn't yell at them, he just told them what is acceptable and what isn't and then said, "What you're doing now is not appropriate and you need to stop. Thanks.". The boy is one of the pastor's kids, so he knew better. The girl knew better too. They just didn't care.

So dh is struggling right now.

How in the world do you make a man smile when he feels like the world is kicking him around?!?

Be a light unto the world...not a bug zapper.
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:29 PM   #2
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A puppy !! You should go to the SPCA and get him a puppy - probably two b/c two are funnier than one : )
Seriously - That's a tough one not knowing your dh. Could you get the remaining kids in the youth group to do something to show your dh how much they appreciate him?
My hubby is working on finishing his dissertation so we go through this with some frequency, making him smile typically involves sexy lingerie and sleeping late
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:53 PM   #3
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OK, excuse me for being dense, but what the heck is the pastor doing through all this? I understand your dh is the youth pastor, but surely he must be entitled to some backup from the "regular" (for lack of a better word) pastor.
It's a tough job, and it would not only help your dh, but would help the kids (especially the Pastor's kid who's testing the boundaries) if they had not one, but two people telling them the same type of thing. I guess I look at it kinda like when I was in grade school - you had your teacher who had the most everyday influence on you, and you had the principal, who, when necessary was called in and backed up the teacher. Same idea here. Your dh is in charge, but there's no harm in calling in a more "senior" member of the staff to get some reinforcement on what he's trying to do, and in getting certain points across to kids.
I don't know exactly how to make him smile, but let him know you appreciate all he's done, ask him what he would think of the "enforcer" idea....and if you can, see if you can find a copy of Bob Greene's "Be True To Your School". It's a diary of his junior/senior year in high school - he kept it because at a journalism conference, one of the speakers said that to be a good journalist you should keep a journal, writing in it every day even if it was just a couple of sentences. That taught you discipline and attention to detail. Years later, Bob uncovered it and published it. Granted, it was originally written when he was a teen in 1964, but reading it brings back so many memories of our own teen years. Things may be different now, but in many ways they are still the same. The envelope may be different, but we all tried pushing the one we were in - and remembering that may help him to kind of get back into the teen mindset. It's worth a shot, anyway.
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:21 PM   #4
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I don't know about making him smile, but you remind him that this is part of God's plan for him and those kids. You can only do so much, and by standing your ground, founded on the Word, you set the best example ever. Remember the prodigal son...

People walk away from God all the time. It sounds like this is one of those times. Despite all of the blessings in our lives, we all choose to walk away for various reasons and at various times.

He just has to trust that he's provided opportunities for God's sunshine and nourishing rain to find their way to the roots of those children's souls. Your hubby is not responsible for turning them to repentance. That's God's job as well as their decision. As long as your husband has been obedient to God's leading, then that's all he can do.

Nathalie - AuburnChick's Adventures

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers. -- Isaac Asimov
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:57 PM   #5
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When I M feeling down about my work with kids, I try to remember the small victories, like the little girl who was crying in my office on day 2 becasue she was SOOO homesick, and she came to me the LAST day and told me my "trick" of one hour at a time worked so well, she will probably go to COLLEGE

Or the Goth Punk kid who wore Khaki slacks his last day of camp.

the smaller things are harder to see, but they do at least as much in the long term.

Make this world a Better, and more beautiful place, that you have been in it
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Good judgement comes from experience
but Experience comes from Bad Judgment
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Old 01-30-2008, 01:41 AM   #6
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My mom always said the best way to make a husband happy is doing the "wifely duties" .... that's about all I can offer you
I'm back!
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Old 01-30-2008, 03:33 AM   #7
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AuburnChick is "right on". I appreciate her sentiments and words of wisdom!

And, think of this, too: Even when the Son of God walked this Earth, he had troubles and tribulations on a daily basis because he was dealing with imperfect mankind.

If he had it to do all over again, he would.
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:33 AM   #8
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It's hard to know, as I don't know your husband, with mine getting him to let go of work problems is the hard bit, usually a change of scene helps like a walk in the countryside, followed by food he really likes and what Hilde's Mum so wonderfully called " wifely duties"

I do agree that some backup from the minister of your church sounds like it's necessary. Also if he wants to talk about it, maybe you could remind him that the way these teenagers are treating him isn't as personal as it feels, they are at a stage in life when it really all revolves about them and it's their own life dramas that they are thinking about, concern for others is very much a next step on in maturity.

It maybe that working with teenagers lots of them are at some time or other going to walk away from the church. What matters is that they have had seeds of faith planted in them for them to come back to.
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Old 01-30-2008, 10:21 AM   #9
Turning the Heel
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Even though it's God's work, "burnout" is still distinctly possible. Is a vacation any option at all? And, I really like the suggestion that the other kids in the group show him some appreciation. Maybe you can orchestrate that.

By the way, working at a church was the hardest job I've ever done.
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msoebel (01-31-2008)
Old 01-30-2008, 02:56 PM   #10
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I'm from a family of pastors/ministers. Ministry is a tough, and sometimes thankless job. You're on call 24/7, and it's all for God because it sure isn't for the money.

I don't know if this would make your DH smile, but my words of wisdom would be to recognize what he has given for these kids, to know that he has to trust that the wisdom he has passed on will make a difference long term, even if it doesn't look like it's making a difference short term. Some vacation/retreat time might be in order, too, if he can do that.

My dad (a preacher) had so much hope for one of the youth in one of his churches. She was one of the few who was going to be heading to college, and my dad encouraged her in those dreams. He wasn't sure what to do when she suddenly didn't seem interested any more. Turns out life had made other plans for her, and I believe she dropped out of high school to have her baby. My dad was pretty disappointed - but his job was to encourage her in making the best decisions she could in the situation she was in and supporting her and getting the church to support her. My dad has changed churches since then, so I don't know what happened to her long term, but at some point ANY type of teacher has to just trust that something sunk in and send your students/youth out to face the world - hopefully stronger and/or wiser because of your influence.

As for mentioning the senior pastor's son's behavior to the senior pastor - how are the politics in your congregation? There are some churches where I would in no way advise doing that - your DH would be encouraged to look for a new job. In other places the politics might make it more of a possibility.

But for right now... my dad was always cheered up when church garbage was going on by his kids - we could tell when something wasn't right and would make him cards and gifts, sit on his lap, make him feel needed (even if it was just helping with homework) and telling all the funny family stories that we could think of. It usually worked. (And my mom always swore that we could do this much better than she could.) Good luck!
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