These 1-star Yelp reviews of National Parks can teach you something about KidMin
The National Parks are often called America's greatest idea. And if you've ever been to one, you would probably agree. (Note the emphasis on probably.) Despite the jaw-dropping scenery and the incredible wildlife, some people just aren't satisfied. And where do you go when you aren't satisfied with something? The internet of course! Specifically, Yelp, where you can review just about anything including prisons, border crossings, junkyards, and even the moon. (Yes, that's right...as of today, there are 27 reviews of the moon.) So what could people possibly have against the National Parks? Take a look at these excerpts from 1-star Yelp reviews and see for yourself: "You lose cell service because you're in nowhere USA." (Badlands) "There are bugs and stuff, and they will bite you on your face." (Sequoia) "If you've seen one [geyser] you've seen them all." (Yellowstone) "Just google 'pretty sunrise' and save yourself the disappointment." (Haleakala) "Trees block views and too many grey rocks." (Yosemite) "More like mediocre canyon." (Grand Canyon) So what do these reviews tell you about the National Parks? Just about nothing! In actuality, they say a lot more about the people writing them. They tell us that some people can never be satisfied. If you've been in KidMin long enough, you've probably received some 1-star reviews. Probably not on Yelp. (Again, emphasis on probably.) More often, people just say it to your face, or say it to your boss, or say it to your volunteers, or say it to your cat, or just mumble it under their breath. They're not happy with your curriculum choice. They don't like how you changed the room around. The previous director did things differently. You're not outgoing enough. You're too outgoing. You can probably hear some of the voices in your head right now. So what do you do when you get a 1-star review from someone? Ask yourself 2 things:
1. With what spirit is this being said? If someone is just griping, take it with a grain of salt. But if they come to you with a genuine concern in a spirit of helpfulness, listen carefully.
2. Is there any truth to what they're saying? Notice that I say any truth. Often times, someone's critique might be 98% off, but there could be a kernel of truth that you could learn and improve from. For some people, complaining is their way of saying, "I'm struggling with change. Help me!" Most importantly, though, don't dwell on the negative. For every 1-star review that the National Parks get, there are a hundred 5-star reviews. The same could probably be said for you! There are always going to be dissatisfied people in your ministry. Learn what you can from them, but don't be discouraged. If God's grand creation can't get by without some negative reviews, what makes you think you can?