When you look at what youth workers do, far too much of their time seems to be wasted.
Ask any youth worker, “What did you do today?” The reply might be, “I played dodge ball with a bunch of ninth-grade boys” or “I hung out at McDonald’s with some teenagers after the basketball game.”
Youth workers “waste”a lot of time on being present to youth. Being there is more than just showing up where young people are. Being thereconveys to a young person that their life matters right now. It says “I am truly interested in your ninth-grade life. Others may be interested in getting you to grow up, to mature, and to excel – often the faster the better – but I am interested in you, your thoughts, your feelings, and your goals right now.”
Strategic grandparents (youth workers) get paid nothing for being there.We have time to waste. It’s one of the perks of being retired! It’s not a question of whether or not we will waste time when we get older. The question is on whom or what will we waste our time. Let’s waste it on love. Let’s waste it on our grandchildren.
What happens when you waste time on love? Kids learn that you aren’t too busy for them. Later, when they have a serious question to ask, they will ask you because you have time, time to listen, time to talk…time to waste.
Yes, “time is money” but time wasted on love is GOLD!
For Discussion: What times of the day, week, or month do I have to waste?
For Action: Which of my grandchildren most needs me to waste some time with him or her? When can I next do that?
Mike Shaughnessy lives in Lansing, Michigan and is the founder of Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club
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