This past weekend our family was confronted with the hard reality that there are so many hurting teens today. A friend of our family, a teen, is struggling with self-worth, identity in Christ, and a myriad of confusing thoughts, frustrations, questions, and doubts. We helped our sons navigate the process of dealing with a suicide threat and helping their friend feel loved and to know there are people who care and want to help. Unfortunately, this all culminated in a 911 call that I made to assure this person’s safety.
This isn’t a topic we normally address in this blog, but it is highly pertinent. We all know teens, and while we were all teens at one time, the youth culture today is nothing like what it was 20, 30, or 40 years ago. I’m not going to bore you with statistics and studies that show you how things have changed. I only want to challenge you today to become a part of a kid’s life and show them the love of Christ. Be Jesus to that boy or girl (men, choose a boy or young man; women, choose a girl or young lady) and support them as they work their way through this difficult and confusing world. Be a friend they can trust. Don’t judge and correct—instead, discern and guide.
Every kid needs someone like you in their life. This need is not limited to troubled youth. You may or may not know any “hard cases” and you may not feel equipped to deal with very serious issues. That’s fine, because kids from so-called “normal” homes with loving parents need other loving, caring adults in their lives, too. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the many men who have been a part of my sons’ lives. They’ve walked alongside our family in helping prepare Alex and Andrew to be leaders in their own family, community, and work.
Please take the time to start a conversation with a youth today. Just open the door by acknowledging who they are and by praying for that person on a daily basis. God will use you to be a powerful influence in that person’s life. You might see an impact in a few months, it might take years, or you might never know how you touched that person’s life.
I’m going to ask you to do one more thing. I’ve never asked anyone to do this before. Please promote this article: “Like” it on Facebook; retweet it; share it on LinkedIn; +1 it on Google; link it in your blog; email it to friends. I ask this not to get my article promoted, but so that anyone needing a little nudge to be a mentor will follow through and perhaps save a life.
Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at]LeadStrategic.com with your questions.
Photo “Depressed” by Elieas1800. Available at Flickr.com.