Sunday, January 27, 2008

Skinny White People Dancing is Clearly Not Cool

In youth ministry, awkward social situations abound. Mostly these situations revolve around a student throwing up or a youth worker making a fool of themselves. The following story revolves around the latter.

As Mark is out of town this weekend with the majority of the high school students and staff on a retreat, I was asked to teach and lead the remaining high school students today at our Sunday morning gathering. I decided to have some fun and play a game with the high schoolers, thinking "jr. high students enjoy my games; why wouldn't high schoolers?"

The game I chose this morning is a rock-paper-scissors type of game called "Robot, Laptop, Teacup" (The laptop controls the robot, which smashes the teacup, which can be poured onto the laptop. If you would like to learn it, I will gladly teach you some day). So to start the game, I asked the 25 high school students in the room to stand up.

No one stood up.

So I asked a second time, with a little more enthusiasm.

Two students in the front row slowly stood.

I then proceeded to explain the game, demonstrating how to do the robot dance and how a robot destroys the teacup, all with much enthusiasm.

I received blank stares of incredulity. 

Even the students who humored me by standing just stood there, looking at the strange man on the stage, doing an awkward robot dance. Then they slowly sat back down.

I stopped doing the robot, and attempted to awkwardly transition to a time of worship. Sadly, the worship intern who was to lead worship was in the bathroom, leaving me on stage without a plan B. This led to some incoherent rambling for a moment, followed by the worship intern's surprised entrance.  Basically, my introduction to the high school students at Red Mountain was one of awkwardness and idiocy.

The lesson I have learned here is twofold: First, one cannot force high school students to play games, even if one thinks the game is the greatest idea in the world; and second, one must never think too highly of oneself, as one is only a robot dance away from looking like a complete idiot.


  1. dude... dont ever stop dancing... i feel your pain and if i had been there i would have stood for you... sounds like a great game and will play it in the a.m. with my four year old... wonder what the response would have been if mark had done it?.... anyways... dont loose faith... and keep on dancing...


  2. All I can say is...I love you so much!

  3. that sounds like the best game ever.

  4. as a firsthand witness, I must say that Joel's robot moves were amazing which might have intimidated the students (well, they were amazing at least). also, i am sorry to say that i did enjoy thinking about the whole scenario throughout the rest of the day...AND I stood too, at least! so so funny =) and you handled it well- props.

  5. Thank you all for supporting my robot dancing. The world needs more pale, thin white guys dancing awkwardly. And I'm the man for the job.

    Candace, thank you for standing when no one else would. Your courage is noteworthy. :)

  6. JOEL!! I stood up!! and I wanted to play sooo bad haha I thought you did absolutely amazingly and I wish you would come talk again sometime