Helping Kids

Helping KidsToo many young people now days display “hopelessness”. Many of them have become discouraged by their own sins, their failures, and what others have done to them.

Some of the examples of the painful experiences of young people are teens suffering from the trauma of physical and/or sexual abuse, single parent homes, poverty, homelessness, drugs, alcohol, premarital sex, internet porn and cutting.

We are called to comfort those young people who feel they are sinners and unworthy and downhearted for their mistakes and what the world has dealt them. We might not be able to “solve” all their problems that cry out to us in agony and despair, but we just might be able to point them in the direction of the answer.

Their dignity has been damaged.

Because of shame, dignity wounds tend to stay more hidden than physical ones. We need to work extra hard to bring these wounds into the light of day.

Have you ever tried to clean oil off a concrete driveway? Brushing and brushing with hot water will get out some of the oil, but if you want to restore it to its original cleanliness, you need something more. In many cases, a good dose of bleach will get the oil out. Almost miraculously, the dirt rolls right off, and the driveway is as good as new.

Just like oil can accumulate and darken the appearance of a concrete driveway, sin can cover our souls and darken them. It often takes a good shot of acknowledgement and forgiveness get get the soul of a young person clean.

Here is how we can help.

  • Acknowledgement. This act has almost “magical” powers and a “disarming” effect, since the last thing a young person ever expects is for their pain to be acknowledged. Receiving this validation helps them open up to healing. Many times this is as simple as letting them know that they are not alone in their struggle. There are lots of other people out there in pain just like they are.
  • Being Safe and Loved. Kids need to know that it’s safe to speak up about their problems or injustices. Kids need to know that they will be loved unconditionally regardless of the bad things that have happened in their lives.
  • We can break the cycle of victimization and get kids on the road to redemption. This happens when, first, the wounded adolescent understands that though they have been mistreated, they haven’t done anything wrong, and next, when they summon the personal strength to form positive cultures of resilience with people who forgive them and who love them.

Now, show them the “answer”, and give them some hope!