Been There, Done That

When someone says to you, "Been there, done that," they usually mumble the follow up, ". . . and I don't ever want to do it again." The reasons may vary. For example, if you ask a friend if he'd like to go skydiving with you and he says, "Been there, done that," what he's really saying is, "It was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life and I don't ever want to do it again." Or if you ask a friend to take dance lessons and she says, "Been there, done that," she probably has two left feet and doesn't want to embarrass herself again.

But sometimes saying "been there, done that" is a cop out - an excuse not to do something. We hear it often here. "Would you be willing to help with Housewalk this year?" "Been there, done that (meaning: I remember how much work it was; how much time it took; the younger generation should do it now)." "How about being a church school teacher?" "Been there, done that (meaning: my kids are grown now; I did it for a lot of years; I'd rather go to Starbucks during that time)."

Planning for Ann Dieterle's departure sometime later this year, the search was on for her replacement as coordinator of the junior high school youth group. As co-leader of WHAM, our high school youth group, I am well aware of the fact that if we don't connect well with our junior high students now, eventually we won't have a high school youth group. What a shame that would be since WHAM is just starting to build some momentum. So in order to insure WHAM's continued success, I have agreed to take on the role of junior high school coordinator.

Now I could have easily played the "been there, done that" card. After all, I'm still "doing it" with the high school and it takes up a pretty good portion of my week. And there is no guarantee that what I'm "doing" with them will work with the junior high. But I'm willing to take that chance. I've tried a variety of things with WHAM and finally figured out what works and what doesn't. I've learned from my mistakes - and my successes - and now I would like to take those experiences to build a strong leadership team for the junior high school youth group.

That's the thing about having been there and having done that. You have experience and, if not the perfect talent or skill, you have an adventurous spirit. As I look to build that junior high leadership team, I'm hoping to find a few people who have "been there, done that" so that together we can do it again - with energy, enthusiasm and experience. In every facet of the parish - housewalk, church school, fellowship events, liturgical ministries, outreach - we need those who have been there in order to teach our new members how to do that. No excuses.