Why I Forgot to Take My Son to Youth Group
Written by Aaron Helman
I forgot to take my kid to youth group… and I’m the youth pastor!
A few Wednesdays ago, I was sitting in my basement playing Mario Kart with my kids, when all of a sudden, youth group must have started.
Don’t worry, I wasn’t supposed to be there. I had another team running the evening so I could spend a few extra evenings with my family before heading off to a week of camp.
But my son was supposed to be there.
Want to know how the YOUTH PASTOR can forget all about youth group?
I’ll tell you.
It wasn’t until the next morning when I saw some pictures from the church lawn posted on Instagram that I realized my mistake. It was a moment that began with confusion that transformed suddenly into a pained clarity.
How could I, of all people, be the parent that forgot about youth group?
And if I was capable of totally forgetting about youth group, did that mean I needed to rethink the way I react to other parents who make the same mistake?
(The answer to that second question is yes.)
Anyway, here are the THREE biggest reasons that I forgot youth group on that fateful Wednesday evening.
The whole day fell outside of normal routine.
I always work on Wednesdays, but on this Wednesday, I didn’t. It was one of those Wednesdays that didn’t feel like a Wednesday. That made it a lot easier to forget youth group.
This happens to our students (and sometimes their parents) all summer long. Because the days run together, and because weekends lose their meaning, it’s easy to go an entire day without stopping to think about what day it is.
The reason students didn’t show up might not be because they forgot youth group was Wednesday; it’s because they didn’t realize that Wednesday was today.
I had something else on my mind.
The next day was Thursday, and I was scheduled for a minor medical procedure in the morning. But you know how these things go; when it’s happening to you, it never feels “minor.”
Maybe it’s a sin issue, but in those moments, my son’s fellowship with other believers ranked below my irrational fear of needles.
For parents, this struggle is very real. Stress at work, hurt in a marriage, financial issues… Our brains can’t prioritize schedules because they’re too busy being terrified about a world that seems to be crumbling around them.
My son didn’t remember either.
This is the big one, right? If my son had mentioned to me that we’d better get going, we would have gotten going.
But just like me, it never occurred to him either.
So we just sat there, playing Mario Kart, laughing, and razzing each other about blue shells; completely oblivious to the thing we were “supposed” to be doing.
And you know what? That might have been okay.
Listen, I know that youth group is important. That’s why I do it professionally.
But family time is important too.
So the reason the youth pastor forgot to get his son to youth group?
Because I’m a person with human problems, who belongs to a complicated family; and was enjoying my son too much to remember what time I was supposed to part with him.
And that’s not so bad, is it?
Liked this blog post, then you’ll love this one by Aaron – Bad Lessons We Accidentally Teach Students
Aaron Helman is on a mission to end youth worker burnout by providing the training and resources that you haven’t been taught… until now. Smarter Youth Ministry exists to help you learn how to manage their time and resources better so that you can do more ministry with less frustration. All of that having been said, you most likely know him as the creator of “Lamentation or Taylor Swift Lyric.”