Tag Archives: adolescents

Psalms 8-11; Crumbling Foundations

There is so much unrest, so much evil, and hatred, dishonesty and self-seeking people in our county, I could almost take the advice of David’s friends in Psalm 11, and fly away. The wicked are winning. Is it time to fly the white flag?

The school districts in the county where I spent 37 years in public education, have had more than their share of tragedy since school started in August of last year. Nine adolescent suicides and one adolescent murder-suicide have devastated this average American community.

Last week’s shooting in Florida is yet another tragedy that has rocked our world. I am heartbroken as are many of you. Too many of our youth are living like there is no hope.

But this time, in my grief, I am angry. When adults use grieving, impressionable children to further their own political agendas, we’ve sunken deeper into the mire. Those who organized this field trip to Washington are the lowest kinds of abusers, as far as I’m concerned.

Here’s what needs to happen: Instead of focusing on guns, we need to focus on what’s inside the hearts of those who have no hope, who have no respect for life, who cannot see beyond themselves.

You’ve heard it said, it’s not a gun issue, it’s a heart issue. And it is.

I don’t want to glorify the “anti-bullying” mentality, because that whole movement has made victims of everybody. Teaching children that people should treat you fairly has done more harm than good. But I wonder if the classmates of all of the kids who either kill themselves or others, have a responsibility. I wonder if the parents of the classmates of those kids have a responsibility, the school employees, the neighbors of those children. You. Me.

We’ve spent so much time and money teaching kids how to stick up for themselves. Maybe we should turn our efforts into teaching kids how to stick up for one another. In our efforts to stamp out bullying, we’ve given children the idea that they have the power within themselves to stop an evil person from being evil. (If you say this, or do this, they’ll stop being mean to you) And we are lying to them. The truth of the matter is you can’t.

I wonder how many of the students who enjoyed their little trip to D.C. ever reached out to that classmate. I wonder how many of them spoke to him after his mother died. I was in schools long enough to know the cruelest words are often cloaked in niceties. I wonder how many of those survivors said things, laughed at things, saw his social media posts and did nothing, or simply went about their day acting like this boy didn’t exist.

And I wonder how many of their parents, knowing this boy’s situation, ever encouraged their own children to include him. I wonder how many adults reached out to this boy.

I know there were some. And I also know that this adolescent was a troubled, lost boy. One kind word would not have changed the outcome, because there were some people who did speak those kind words. But I wonder if placed on a scale, would the kindness out weigh the cruelty?

I wonder the same in the lives of those ten dead children in my hometown. Has our country become so self-absorbed that we don’t even see the children who are desperate to be heard?

I will not talk about the “system” that failed, or the FBI, or the security guards, or the gun that was used. All of those are byproducts of the problem, not the cause of the problem.

The problem is us. We need to start teaching children how to take responsibility for their actions, that treating others the way they want to be treated is hard, but right. We need to stop making everything a political issue, even though doing that conveniently allows us to blame someone else for our own failures.

We need to boldly proclaim that there is hope. There is forgiveness and unconditional love. There is peace, and joy, and a real reason to live regardless of situations. We need to introduce people to their Savior, Jesus, the giver of life.

The foundation of our society is crumbling, as is seen in the perceived hopelessness of our children. David asks:

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? (11:3)

Rebuild the foundation! Ezra did.

Dear one, we are all guilty about what happened in Florida, and in other parts of our country. Too many of us are either actively destroying the foundation of our country, or we’re sitting back and watching it crumble.

And our children are dying while we play politics, or bury our heads in our phones.

God forgive us.

 

 

Twelve

I have a special place in my heart for twelve-year-olds. I spent 25 of my 37 years in public education in the middle school. I loved being a part of the chick struggling to get out of the shell, that awkward child/adult, learning how to fly on its own.

So when I read the passage in Luke 2 this morning about Jesus at the age of twelve, I felt drawn to this youngster. Fully human, he must have looked like any middle-schooler walking down the halls of my school, tripping over growing feet, with the energy of a child, wanting the sophistication of an adult. And like most twelve-year-olds, he assumed his parents knew what he was doing.

Let me be clear, Jesus did nothing wrong. There was no disobedience or blatant disregard of his parents wishes. Let’s face it. Parents leave their kids behind all the time, thinking the other parent has the child with him or her. Ask my sister and my brother-in-law. They left their infant son at church – twice – thinking the other had my nephew with them. Thank goodness they live only a couple miles from the church, unlike Mary and Joseph!

What I love about the pre-teen Jesus is his eagerness to talk about spiritual things, to read and discuss Scripture at such a young age. He was learning… and teaching. It’s the same relationship I had with so many twelve-year-olds over the years. Me helping them to learn at the same time they were teaching me. Yes, I love this boy Jesus.

I am reminded that our youth need to be grounded in Scripture, too. They need to be spending time in Bible believing churches where Jesus is proclaimed the only way to the Father. Jesus was not too young to have a heart eager to grow spiritually. Neither are our children.

I’m praying for twelve-year-olds today.