Confidentiality: Keeping Personal Things Private
Loose Lips Sink (relation)SHIPS
Parents and youth wonder without asking “Are you trustworthy?” Teens look to see how you handle who they are and if they’re safe around you. Holding the information of someone else is sacred and caregivers need to treat it as such (Confidentiality). One key that I use to help me know that I’m breaking confidence is that if my heart is telling me “This is too good not to tell someone else (drool)…” then it is confidential. Keep in mind, breaking confidence unnecessarily will sink your relationship with that person and anyone else who hears of it. Good stories attract attention and often we’re trying to gain the attention of youth. If we ever find ourselves in a situation with information that we just want to blurt out: DON’T SAY ANYTHING!!! Unless you have permission directly from an individual to share a story, just don’t. The group you lead learns two things: a juicy story and that they can’t trust you with their stories. While loose lips sink relationships, sharing stories that are ‘too good not to tell’ are the torpedoes of effective caring.
Is It Really a (public) Prayer Request?
This is a big reason why caregiving and pastoral ministry is lonely. Those who care for their groups often have to play their cards close to their chest in order not to accidentally divulge something said in confidence. I’ve been in many circles that use “prayer requests” to break confidentiality; this is really a thinly veiled mechanism for gossip. While I sincerely value prayer, not everyone needs to know every detail of what you know in order to pray.