So how was the Poverty Simulation?
That’s a question I’ve been asked a lot over the last three weeks. And it’s a question I’ve been trying to answer in this blog for just about as long. So how was it?
Crowded. Challenging. Complex.
One word answers. My teacher-self is not pleased with these answers…and crowded, come on? In all seriousness, it was crowded. Uncomfortably crowded. I think that’s part of what made it effective. The cramped quarters of time and space really did generate feelings of frustration and anxiety from all participants, whether they were managing the “local power company” or one of many “families” struggling to make ends meet. But for some reason, that’s not the story that needs to be told. (Not that the story of the simulation isn’t excellent. It is. The story has just already been written (and published).
But I also don’t know if that story. The story of the poverty simulation is my story from the day. Honestly, what struck me the most throughout the event is our own nature (myself included) to tell young people what to do or think. During our discussion time after the simulation, the room filled with engaged voices. Voices ready to tell the youth participants how to take this information to their homes, schools, and churches. How often I find myself doing this same thing. Wanting to tell people, especially youth, what to do. (I have this trait in Spades.) And yet the pastor in me knows that listening–really listening–is not only a spiritual discipline but the beginning of leading. Why is that kind of leading so hard? What are we afraid we might hear?