Here are some guardrail questions: Does the issue involve someone else or is it just “my stuff?” If it involves someone else, have I attempted to work through the issues with them first? If I haven’t – probably isn’t appropriate.
Ultimately, I think it all goes back to purpose. What is the point of me sharing this? Do I want the attention? Am I needing and calling out for help? Am I open to hear what others have to say about the issue? Is it to celebrate or for healing?
For adults who work with students – it gets a little cloudier. I think all of the above questions are appropriate but there are few more things we should chew on before we pull the trigger on being vulnerable.
First, if the issue is a past event – have you really dealt with it or is it still in process? Don’t portray a situation as a victory if you are still in process. Is it an issue they deal with? If you have a nagging wife, they aren’t going to get it. So save that discussion for your peers.
Do the students you are leading have the skills and maturity to help you with your situation? Do they have the relational, emotional, mental maturity to help you or hold you accountable? If they don’t have the capacity to help, it isn’t appropriate to share.
Second, don’t share a condemnation. If you think that no teenager should watch R rated movies and you are “struggling” with some of the decisions that some parents are making in this area – keep it to yourself.
First of all – that isn’t so clear to many other parents. Second of all, that kind of “sharing” could be misunderstood as gossip.
Finally, as an adult who has chosen to serve students….it isn’t about us. So if we are struggling with what to share – maybe we are talking to much in the first place.
I feel like a parrot but the bottom line question is “Why am I sharing this?” Don’t settle for the first answer that pops in your head. Really dig deep.
Generally speaking – it’s completely appropriate to share with students your failings and the lessons learned. Let’s just be careful that the focus of the sharing doesn’t turn into “look what I did and got away with” or “look how spiritual I am now.”
If you still aren’t sure whether something is appropriate or not – bounce it off of another coach and let them help you decide.
Next Session: Vulnerability Levels & Hindrances