Rashional Thoughts — Which group best describes your youth?

Rashional Thoughts — Which group best describes your youth?

By Jennifer Davis Rash

The two church youth groups had similar missions — feed the families and entertain the kids — but the experiences could not have been any more different.

Both groups helped out at the local Ronald McDonald House on subsequent Saturday afternoons. The families there have children facing life-threatening illnesses who are being treated at a nearby children’s hospital.

Weekends are some of the loneliest moments for the families because there are typically no (or few) medical appointments for those who are not in the hospital. The days can be long without visitors or planned activities.

So organized groups coming in are always a welcome sight. And youth groups are especially exciting for the kids.

Of course, adult leaders tagged along with the youth groups, supervising the afternoon activities and evening meal. And both meals turned out to be very tasty.

The difference came in the interaction with the kids.

The first group was small in number but large in heart. Only a handful of young people helped out, and there was nothing fancy to their setup or delivery. Still they clicked well with the kids. They basically walked around engaging the children until a connection was made. From there, that student would play with the child the rest of the afternoon, even eating with him or her during the evening meal if the family OK’d it.

Lacking in heart

The second group was large in number but not so large in heart, at least as a whole. I noticed a few individuals who were trying to do more, but most of the group spent a great deal of time in a circle chatting and laughing with each other.

They did an amazing job setting the area up like a carnival, but few took time to man the booths. The few activities with a supervisor were fun for the kids, but the other activities were barely touched. Someone nearby would wave us off, saying, “Do whatever you want” when we approached the unmanned booths.

Most members of the group did not even try to interact with the kids, even though the kids tried to pull them into various activities. A few of the students were kind enough to go along with the activities at first, but they were looking to be rescued after a few minutes.

Disappointed kids

I saw several disappointed kids who picked up the vibes from this group quickly. And being a personality type who can’t sit by while such injustice takes place, I had to attempt to remedy the situation. After all, if you came here to minister to kids with cancer, then why are you in a huddle practicing your cheerleading moves or sitting around a table whispering with your backs to everyone else?

I wanted to be frustrated with the students, but as I looked for the adult supervisors I found them in huddles of their own.

So I started introducing children to members of the youth group and suggesting activities they could do together. Some of the youth cooperated but were stiff and barely spoke to the children. Others said they had other responsibilities, so they could not play with the kids. They would tell me this and then walk back over to a group and stand around and talk for 30 or 45 more minutes.

I have to believe this second group was the exception and not the rule, but it gave me a new appreciation for youth leaders who are teaching and modeling appropriate behavior and witness.

It also reminded me to be thoughtful and responsible about the roles we take on to “help” others. We should always make sure our motives are pure and that we are willing to truly participate — not just show up and say we did.


Rashional Extras – Efficiency — Speed — Accuracy — Productivity

By Bob Cosby, M.D.
Birmingham, Ala.

In response to your July 31 “Rashional Thoughts” on efficiency, I propose another view.

Not often considered when we are waiting in line and wishing other people would hurry up is that everyone has their own personal energy level, and everyone has a very individual mental data processing speed with a safe speed limit to their capabilities.

Yes there is probably an average mental processing speed and an average range of speeds. However, the normal range is wide and in a given individual whom we are observing we cannot know what their capability is at a given moment in time while under our observation. A relatively slow speed may be normal for them.

Yes a person may be slothful, unmotivated or exhibiting passive aggression by intentionally working slowly to aggravate you, but there are several other possibilities.

Reasons for slow mental processing speeds include sleep deprivation, fatigue, anxiety, distractions, depression, medication effects, physical illness, pain and birth defects.

As we gain age and maturity we slow down in lots of ways. In addition we acquire a lot of data. Processing this data appropriately to make safe decisions takes extra time, which will seem slow to younger persons.

When an individual’s cognitive processing limit is exceeded, excessive errors will occur. Since errors create more work for everyone than the time gained, work done over the speed limit can be worse than useless.

The problem is that we are all constantly judging others by our own cruising speed at a given time. Those we see whom are faster may be admired or they may seem reckless or hyperactive. Many individuals increase the disparity between themselves and others on a daily basis by getting artificially wired on caffeine or other substances. In this situation they have only themselves to blame when others seem slower.

We should perhaps compare others’ performances to what our slow processing speed was when we were last worried, ill, depressed or in pain. At those times we expected others to tolerate our slow speed and to appreciate our efforts in trying to function despite our problems.

Thankfully God is in control of all these variables, both in ourselves and others, and He uses them to build His character in us. His Bible says, “Trials produce patience, and patience produces the will of God.”

It’s perhaps better to see apparently inefficient and slow-speed delays as opportunities to pray for the individual, who, like us, has problems. We have the opportunity to be cheerful and show compassion in the face of hardship. We can give thanks to God that we are able to perform our God-given tasks faster and better than some others.

Editor’s Note — The July 31 “Rashional Thoughts” on efficiency was about developing well-balanced, efficient team members who produce quality work while also delivering an appropriate quantity of work in a routine season of life. However, a couple of the examples used could have been interpreted as promoting speed and high energy over all else.


Clutter influences the way you work, the way you live and the state of your soul, argues megachurch pastor Bill Hybels.

The pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., Hybels talks about how to live a life anchored by the priorities that matter most in his new book, “Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul.”

“This is about decluttering your soul. This isn’t about cleaning your basement or buying a new Day-Timer,” he said. “The great truth in my mind is that a schedule is not so much about what you have to get done, but who you’re trying to become. That was one of the greatest simplifying revelations of my life.

“When you put a schedule together, and before you list all the duties and responsibilities, you say, ‘Who do I want to become in the next 12 months?’ You plug in the time it’ll take you, you fill in the rest with what you have to get done. If that subtle shift can be made, you can be helped in dramatic ways.”

(Religion News Service)


Much confusion exists about the spiritual character trait of humility. It is not low self-esteem. It must not be confused with ability and availability. Scripture pictures servant leadership modeled by Jesus as humility. Humility admits human weakness and sin. It accepts God’s grace in Christ and forgiveness, which moves us toward a liberated Christian life. We can boast then only in Christ.

Bill Morgan
Director of missions
Autauga Baptist Association


“There’s something not to like about everybody. If that’s the lens we insist on wearing, we’ll have plenty to see and no one to love.”