This week’s Make a Difference Post is dedicated to the people that will be making a huge difference in the world in the future – in fact, they already are! I’ve sat back humbled and amazed by the passion, love, joy, and beauty of our high school students these past few months. I have just a small interaction with these young people, but I can’t wait to get to know them more and be more deeply involved in their lives. If you’re not involved in the lives of a student, do it now. It will make a difference to them – and to you.
Dear Lydia, Ellie, Brenda, Ashley, Shelby, Cassie, Sam, Harry, Breanna, Anna, Mary and every other teen and pre-teen I know,
It wasn’t all that long ago that I was more than a bit intimidated by high school and middle school students. I don’t know why. I am a completely responsible, happy, well-adjusted thirty-something. But, for some reason, interacting with you guys as you are going through those years – those hard years where every choice has like 15 unexpected consequences, and people never know if you’re joking or serious, and the hard work of just learning who you are as you grow and change – I didn’t really feel like I had anything to speak into that space. I survived middle school (barely by some accounts. There isn’t money enough in the world to make me go back and do that again), and I learned more how to thrive in high school thanks to the last couple years being really awesome and finding my place – namely, the stage.
Still, what did I have to share with you? I was not the popular kid, and still wouldn’t consider myself overly popular (friendly and loved, sure. Popular? Nope). Then, through a series of interactions (One Girl, working with predominately high school students during my monthly Sherwood Kids! storytelling time, VBX, Easter, etc), I’ve realized something. It’s not about what me. It’s about you, these amazing, awesome people that are going to change the world. All you really need from me is to be a person who loves them, believes in them, and will promise be there to laugh and smile and listen and be present in your lives.
Some of you went to MOVE last week. Some of you are doing crazy, awesome things this summer. Some of you will go back to high school in the fall. Some will move on to college. Here is what I want you to remember, more than anything else:
I love you. I really do. I believe in each and every one of you. I am amazed and humbled by your faith, by your ability to love and grow and forgive, and by your selflessness. I sat in front of a lot of you at church on Sunday. Don’t lose that passion for God. The world isn’t going to always be easy. You’re going to have some junk thrown at you. People you love will get hurt. You will get hurt. People are just people, after all. They are not above making mistakes and doing silly things and hurting other people’s feelings.
But, hold on to your faith. Hold on tight to people in your life that encourage you to be the very best, God-honoring person you can be. Trust that He’s got it all in control. Trust that He loves you so much that He would do anything for you. Trust that there is always sunshine after the rain.
I am here for you. I don’t have all the answers. Heck, I have a lot of questions myself. But, I have a good ear and an open mind. I’ve been through it before. I want you to come to me when you need someone.
You are all amazing. You are going to change the world. You are going to bring light to the dark and love to the hopeless. You are going to do amazing things. You already are.