Youth Group Wants Shy Member Back in Shell
Obnoxious behavior and bad jokes make leaders and youth long for quieter daysCategory: Youth
SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO — For years leaders and youth group members at New Mexico Church of Christ took great pains to get the group’s shyest member, Corey Tait, to take part in more activities and show more of his personality. But these days, those well-intentioned folks are feeling like victims of their own success.
“Corey used to just sit in the corner and listen to his iPod all the time, so we were really excited when our efforts to get him to talk and participate more seemed to be working,” said youth pastor Allen Kisner. “Then we started listening to the things he was saying and talking about, and we started to wonder if maybe Corey sitting quietly in the corner wasn’t so bad after all.”
Tait, now a 16-year-old 11th grader at nearby Eastern Plains High School, is a big fan of Battlestar Galactica and the popular massively multi-player online role playing game World of Warcraft. Thanks to the aforementioned efforts to get him to reveal more of his personality, he’s no longer shy about it.
“Once he started talking, it was all about power levelling, mana and cylons,” said Katrina Tappan, the youth group’s 12th-grade president, and by all accounts the student most instrumental in coaxing Tait out of his shell. “Not only does he talk about that stuff all the time, which, like, no one even understands, but he talks about it really loud and passionately. He even manages to start arguments with people who don’t even know what he’s talking about. It actually gets uncomfortable pretty fast.”
Although Tait’s unorthodox taste in television and video games have been giving his peers second thoughts about their efforts to get to know him better, it’s his sense of humor that really has the leadership of the youth group concerned.
“Corey never used to joke around with the other kids,” Kisner said. “We always thought that was a bad thing, but then we heard some of his jokes. It’s hard to explain without giving what would probably be pretty offensive examples, but I guess you could call it a weird mix of inappropriate practical jokes, knock knock jokes, ethnic slurs and misogyny – actually quite disturbing.”
Despite all of these concerns, tactics for returning to the days of a shy Tait have been elusive.
“Getting him back in his shell has proven to be even harder than getting him out,” Tappan said. “We’ve thought about having a music night when everyone can just bring in their iPods and listen to them all night, and he still doesn’t seem to participate much when we play sports, so we’re trying to do more of that. You know, whatever it takes to go ahead and hide that back under the bushel.”