July 23, 2017

Have you hugged a teen today?

Have you hugged a teen today?
Kevin Cameron

KevinThere are many things a teen needs. A quick online look at poetry by teens suggests some of the greatest needs—friendship, hope, God, forgiveness and family (not necessarily in this order). You will notice the prevalence of friend focus in these poem portions shared below. Friends are central to a teen’s life. The shift from being family centered to friend centered can be gradual or sudden. It is an adjustment for all parties.
Remembering my teen years and thinking about the three in our home, the known and unknown in our neighborhood, the cherished in our church, and the ones world-wide, I share some borrowed and personal reflections here:

You can lean on friends when you are weak, and carry them when you are strong. They are always there beside you, even when you are wrong. -Britni

Though there is gold up in the mountains, lovely pearls deep in the sea, those treasures do not mean as much as your friendship means to me. -Alora

I was so fortunate to have friends from our dead-end dirt road street, school, sports, church, work and camp. It was great to have a variety of friends from different parts of my life. There was always someone to call or spend time with. We encourage our teens to make and nurture friends from different parts of their lives.

When you’re going through life’s valleys and you think there’s no way out, you’re not the first to feel this way. There’s hope, without a doubt. -Dave
God, grant me the courage to stand up for what I believe in, in order to express my true opinions without fear. -Angie

Our UCC church was filled with light and laughter. The adults really loved the kids and youth. People knew our names and knew things about us. They were sincerely interested in our lives. They wanted to hear our opinions and always made room for us in church leadership and decision making. We were treasured and we knew it. That was powerful.

It’s better to forgive and forget than to share my life with pain and regret. -Cindy
Somehow I learned not to hold grudges. I don’t know if it was taught or caught, but I am so grateful. I know too many people – young and old – who get stuck and cannot let go.

My best memory to recall is the gift of my family’s presence, the greatest gift of all. -Rebecca

I am aware of young people who are disrespected and discarded by family. It is my fervent hope and prayer that we can be a church that becomes family—especially for people who no longer have a relationship with their own. I believe in adoption! There is blessing all around!

Make a plan now to get to know a teen or two at church, in your family or neighborhood!