Questionnaires and gray hairs

May 20, 2011

During the past several days I have been writing in a slightly different vein.  Rather than just chatting to my friends I have been filling out questionnaires, cover letters and response forms from several different churches.  They each offer the possibility of employment so their relative importance is rather high compare to this drivel.

Of course I want to speak the truth and not embellish at all; not simply my truth, but real honesty.  That is the way I operate.  I know it sometimes causes trouble but…

Unfortunately, it seems like there has been no place for me to bring up the obvious red flag that everyone seems to notice, but not until several interviews have taken place.  I have gray hair.

My enthusiasm for life, my energy, the ability to work long and hard, and my commitment to staying relevant can be hindered by the fact that I have had more than a few birthdays.  I sometimes come across as an absentminded professor, but I’ve been doing that since I was nine.

People thought I was a teenager until my late twenties, then they thought I had a child bride.  When Diane was almost thirty, a student in the High School she was working in asked her what grade she was in.

When I was in my thirties, my hair started turning gray; I still think that is better than having it fall out, but I could no longer fool people about my age.  Well I did fool some of them, but in the wrong way.

I don’t know if I should use Noah, Moses, Joshua, and a host of other older leaders to state my case, (people may think I knew them personally) but I am in better physical shape than most people half my age.  Unfortunately, that speaks more to the sorry state of America’s health than to my fitness.  I could talk about my fitness routine, but that may not help either.  If I tell them I walk 3-7 miles a day they may ask why I don’t run.  (Diane couldn’t keep up.)

It seems that what most churches are looking for is relevance, experience, and youth.  They want my years of experience in leadership, but with less chronology associated with it.   And if I quote Meatloaf here I won’t help my cause.   And while I know that I am very much in touch with the latest trends in Christian Worship music, and Christian Education,  I have never been very enamored with pop culture. I don’t like Sponge Bob, no matter what shape his pants are, and most Saturday morning television is aimed at morons, not real children.  I am a student of pop culture only to the extent that  it helps me better reach those to whom I minister.

Some of the very best children’s ministry volunteers I have ever worked with are much older than I am, yet they can clearly communicate love and Love to kids of any age.  When doing youth ministry there are many who want to be just like the kids.  But kids aren’t attracted to immature adults, they are attracted to authentic people who care about them.  The same is true for children, whether an older sibling, a parent, grandparent, or simply a caring adult, it is the caring part that children need.  And crave.

So I need to talk about it without bringing it up.  Hmmm.  Maybe I should simply direct them to this post.

What do you think?


One Response to “Questionnaires and gray hairs”

  1. Sue said

    Dr. John Rosemond has written (critically) about the trend in parenting today, where the father wants to be a buddy rather than a parent. It’s easier to say “yes” to everything than to set, and maintain limits. And yet, limits, boundaries and respect for those things are exactly what are needed for maturity.

    Gray hair is becoming a thing of the past thanks to the bottled fountain of youth….hair dye. I think that it’s a reflection of our culture’s lack of respect for older folks.

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