the quote above is from Mother Teresa, and it has especially challenged me lately. as i've embarked in my work with Young Life, and in my attempt to build friendships with Junior High kids, i've been hit time and time again by how lonely and needy these new friends of mine are. let me a share a couple of stories:
- the first day that i was at the school i introduced myself to a class of 20 grade seven students. they asked who i was and why i was there. i said to them, "i'm jeremy, and i'm here because i think you're great!" a couple of them laughed at me. but most of them perked up in their chairs. one of them even responded by asking, "really? you think we're great?" yes, i think they're great.
- i met a boy during a lunch hour and asked him his name. he told me, and i asked him what he thought about his school. he told me that it was alright, better than his old school because at this one, they could do more of what they wanted to. he proceeded to tell me about his teachers, and why he thought that it was going to be great to be in grade seven. after a few minutes, i told him i needed to go and talk to one of the teachers across the school. so i turned and left, walking across the school, until i turned around and noticed this same little boy behind me. he followed me across the school just because i said 'hi' to him.
the responses of these kids tell me something: these kids need love. they need the love that comes from God. they need to hear that they are wanted. they need to know that someone thinks they're great. they don't hear those things from their teachers. most of them don't even hear them from their parents. "mom/dad, can we go (insert activity here)?" response: "no, go play outside" (or some other excuse to not spend time talking to their child) i'm not saying this is the only thing happening, i'm just saying that this is happening in the majority of the kids' lives that i am coming across.
i get the privelege of looking into the eyes of these lonely children. my mission for working with these kids: to look into the eyes of these children, and see the living Christ. my reason for resurrecting this blog: to provide myself a place to reflect on my encounters with these children and with Christ, and to share the story of what goes on when someone that's almost 30 years old decides to be friends with a bunch of Jr High students.
perhaps you'll read the stories, and if you do, please enjoy.