Hey teenagers and pre-teens, we are proud of you.

Teens, and pre-teens, since I know there are a few of you guys here online, I just wanted to tell you I am SO proud of how you stand up and share your faith!  This is a REALLY tough time to be a kid. I am proud of your modesty and how you stand up and speak out when friends are talking you into and making not great choices. It’s really tough. You have GREAT courage!! I just wanted to be a voice thanking you for standing out instead of trying to fit in. You guys are making a difference.

That being said, PLEASE Please talk to us (parents and grown ups) when you do mess up. We will love you through mistakes. Yes, we may be sad and a little disappointed just as you may be when we mess up as grown ups, but we ARE here for you and we DO get that life is really tough as a teenager in 2014. We do not expect you to be perfect and I apologize to anyone who feels like you are held to a “perfect” standard. We mess up as parents and we know you guys mess up as kids, too. I love you. And I just wanted to tell you that you DO have people to talk to when life gets you down.

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Just maybe

My prayer tonight is for the grade school kids and middle school kids to be included in service for the community and church because when they are told they’re “too young” for so long; too young to help, too young to serve, only ages 15 and up can help with cleaning up someone’s yard etc. maybe we’re missing something.

I believe it’s damaging to young spirits to keep hearing they are too young to DO SOMETHING great.

When they are young and want to serve but are not given jobs (and I’m talking about jobs they are very able to do; like pick up in the auditorium, pick up someone’s yard, maybe lead a Sunday morning class FOR 3rd graders BY 3rd graders…) by the time they are “old enough” by church or community standards, they are many times not even interested anymore.

Then we’ve heard churches ask, “What happened to the 19 to 30 year olds? Where are they?”

They were given a Senior graduation celebration, moved away from their parents and everything they knew, went out into the world (many times to college) came back to visit their “home” church congregation only to find they are no longer welcome in their own youth group because they are now “too old” for the “youth group” and don’t feel there is a welcoming place they fit anymore. “Yay! You’re a Senior! Feel loved? Good because when you come back there is another surprise!”

We have an idea.

What if we include them when they’re young and WANT to help and maybe when they’re older they’ll STILL want to help?

What if we create a class where college age kids (and older) are welcome to come and go as they grow up? What if it was a place they knew they were welcome ANY time they were in town? What if they KNEW when they came “home” they’d have a welcoming place instead of feeling “out of place?!” What if that place was a place they could unload all their worries and concerns they’re having out in the world instead of it only being a class where they don’t feel welcome to speak what’s really on their minds?

I don’t begin to know all the answers but I know some.

And when I’m married to a guy
who is a preacher’s kid (just like the kids sitting in Bible class)
who messed up,
who went to prison,
who served God and asked God to grow his faith WHILE he was in prison,
who now lives a life of faith,
and has been equipped with eyes and a heart for the kid who feels alone and may be heading down the same kind of path,
and knows how to help teens be included,
but yet he’s shut out because he has a criminal record but did NOTHING against a child…
I can’t help but think MAYBE he’s part of the solution but nobody opens their eyes to see the treasure God has placed right in front of them.

Maybe…

JUST MAYBE he’s the VERY RIGHT person the teens and parents should hear from.