Could the use of sarcasm be hurting your ministry with youth?
We don't link to other youth ministry blogs in our posts too often anymore. We do all our linking through our Twitter account (and we post there nothing but links to good youth ministry resources so we encourage you to follow our feed!) but sometimes I come across an article that needs to be highlighted. Such is the case with the post "Every Youth Minister Needs: Less Sarcasm" from the Reflections Ministry blog. In my younger years, I used sarcasm constantly. It took an older mentor to help me understand that use of that form of humor with young people can often be misunderstood. Of course, our culture is steeped in sarcasm -- it is the primary tool of the trade for great comedians like David Letterman and John Stewart. But does it have any place in our interactions with youth:
Sarcasm is known for being "biting." In my experience, any time it is used it results in hurt feelings. Its not the person using sarcasm that is hurt, nor those who hear it, but the person to whom it is directed toward. As a youth worker, more often than not, we tend to direct sarcasm at a student. And when this student laughs we think we have accomplished the exact opposite of hurt. In reality, we are only fooling ourselves. No student walks away from a sarcastic remark without feeling some level of pain, especially if they respect the person who said it.
We encourage you to read the whole post, share it with your adult leaders, and consider if there might be a need to reconsider how humor may be hurting or helping your ministry. To follow other posts in the "Every Youth Minister Needs..." series, go here.
Photo credit: J. Sandord