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Archive for the ‘teens’ Category

Aside

How has bullying changed over the years?


LITB Ep. 3

How do you define “bully”?  There’s no doubt the answer to that question is different now than it would have been 50 years ago.  Don’t you agree?

Fifty years ago kids were expected to get up early, do chores, walk to school, and return home to do more chores.  They packed their lunch and were taught to say “yes sir”, and “no sir”

A “bully” in the 1950’s would have probably been defined as someone who singles out weak classmates and picks on them in a physical way.  Hitting, kicking, punching….that was bullying.  Bullies in the 1950’s stole lunch money and dumped lunch trays. At least that is what has been portrayed on television.

Fast forward to the 80’s – my era.  When I was a freshman in high school I was bullied – at least in my mind it was bullying.  Upper classmen took it as their duty to harass freshman.  It was a right of passage.  All freshman had to endure it at some level…..for me it was little clicks of students making comments and laughing at me as I walked past them.  I don’t even know what they were saying.  Could I have ignored it and pretended it didn’t bother me?  Of course – but I wore my heart on my sleeve; and the stronger my reaction was – the worse the bullying got.  If I could get to my locker and to my first class without being laughed at – it was a good day.  I was bullied – and no one ever touched me.  Sticks and stones…..they break your heart.

Now we have  the internet.  That’s the biggest change.  The internet has given kids an avenue to attack even if they are not tough enough to say what they want to say to the victim’s face.  It can be more harmful because what is posted online can be seen by thousands. That is the obvious harm the internet brings.  Another not as obvious harm is the way the internet has caused kids to be sedentary. Instead of being outside running and playing until dark, they are staring at a computer screen all day.  Not only does this open up opportunities to bully and be bullied, it causes our kids to become weak.

cyber bully 3 final

Wikipedia has a lengthy definition of the word bully.  You can view it here :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullying.  It’s more of a thesis than a simple definition.  Is there really a  definition?  Isn’t it relative to the victim’s response?

What are some ways you have seen bullying change over the years?  How do you think it will change as time passes? Will it be the same, better or worse for our grandkids?

I’m not sure I want to think about it.

It’s okay to just breath


ImageHello to a beautiful generation of young people.

 Growing up in today’s society is so very hard.  I say that not because I am in your shoes, but because I see you struggling; and I am here to tell you that you will be okay! I know that I know that I know this!

God did not put you on this earth to watch you suffer.  He put you here to fulfill His purpose.  Let me be honest with you dear one, life is just plain hard sometimes.  It doesn’t make sense, and we feel stuck and alone.  It seems like at times we have no direction to go.  We feel numb, abandoned, lost.

Listen to me…..”YOU ARE NOT ALONE!” Sometimes it is okay to just breath.  If you need a direction to go – look upward.  Talk to God like He is your only hope, because He is.  It may seem like He left you alone with your struggles, but infact He is holding your hand.  He is allowing this struggle because He needs you.  He needs you to be strong and get through this because someday…..maybe sooner than later……someone else will be hurting; and you will be the one to say “I know how you feel, and you will be okay”

Hang on my love…..hang on tight.  It’s going to be okay!  We need you in this world!

Aside

Steubenville, Rehtaeh Parsons….could it have been avoided?


As a parent of a teenage girl, I cannot begin to imagine the pain felt by the parents of the Steubenville victims.  Just this afternoon I read a similar story about a 17 year old girl from Ottawa, Canada, named Rehtaeh Parsons.  She, however, was driven to suicide.  Such a pretty young lady and a tragic story.

We try to so hard to teach our kids, guide them, and help them understand right from wrong.  We want them to understand that when we say “choose your friends wisely”, we are not trying to run their lives.  Literally, in this day, we are trying to save their lives.

The people our teens choose to spend time with, and the way they choose to spend their time, is no longer a simple decision to make. The availability of drugs, alcohol, and even entire homes is so much greater than it used to be.  Being a parent these days is more challenging than ever.  It is a scary world to raise kids in. So many of us without even realizing it – are enabling our kids.  We buy them cars, and smartphones.  We give them money instead of making them earn it.  We do what we can to keep them happy, but at what cost?

I am not saying that tragedies such as the steubenville rape case could have been avoided by proper parenting.  This is a terrible tragedy that breaks my heart.  What I am saying though, is as parents, we  have to be so very careful.  I am far from the perfect parent.  My daughter has had her share of trouble including being a victim of sexual assault herself.  Could I have made her stay home that day?  Sure I could have, but I know she would have found a way to get into trouble anyways.  She is strong-willed and probably would have snuck out to get her way.  Letting her go spend time with her friends that summer day was a small step in letting go.  That’s what we have to do as parents.  We let go and hope they make wise choices.  Unfortunately it sometimes doesn’t turn out so great.

Do you ever just wish you could crawl inside their brains and force them to make the right choice?  Choose the right response? What a difference our kids could make if when they are chosen as team captain, they pick the one that is always picked last first?  What an impact that could have!  Why can’t our kids see that?  It would be such a simple thing to do!

Referring back to the young girl from Canada,  I wonder what it would have taken for her to find value in herself?  I wonder if it would have been that hard to do.  A kind word, a smile, an invitation to sit at a lunch table. When you think back on your own middle school and high school years, do you remember a time when someone went out of their way to be nice to you or help you?  If you do, it was probably a simple gesture on their part, but you never forgot it.

If we could just get our kids to grasp that concept.  Sadly , it isn’t possible.  So here we are.  The best we can do is do our best to help them understand how easy it can be to make a difference.  Be it a negative difference, or a positive one, our words and our actions are more powerful than any double edged sword.

What ways have you used to teach your kids the value of simply being nice?  Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section.

 

 

 

Pray for your enemies? Really?


It’s one of the hardest things I have ever done; but I swallowed hard and just did it – I prayed for her.  She was causing a lot of stress in my life – and I had to deal with it daily.  There was no way to get away from it. So I prayed for her.  I asked God to bless her in her life; and I asked God to help me be Jesus to her.  I didn’t want to – I wanted to choke her actually. But we all know that would not be the best way to handle it – so I prayed.  And when I did – something really cool happened.  My heart changed.  I felt more compassion for her.  I felt more patient and merciful towards her.  God gave me the tools I needed to be the Godly woman He calls me to be.  He lifted the burden of handling this all on my own.

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Ashley with her dad getting ready for karate class.

My daughter, Ashley, was being bullied – pretty severely.  She was in the 6th grade.  There was this group of 3 or 4 girls that took every opportunity they could to call her names and corner her.  One time she was in the school bathroom – minding her own business. This group of girls came in and cornered her.  She could not get away.  They begun to push her and say hurtful things to her.  When she did manage to get away –  she was so upset that we wound up at the police department that evening.  Turns out if the girls would have moved her 5′ or more while she was cornered – we could have charged them for kidnapping.  That didn’t happen of course – but it had to stop nonetheless.  So we filed our report and went home.

That evening as I was tucking my daughter into bed – we started talking about prayer.  I asked her if she had ever prayed for these girls.  One of them in particular (we will call her Kathy) was the instigator.  If she wasn’t at school – the bullying didn’t happen. So I asked her; “Ashley – have you ever thought about praying for Kathy?  You should have seen the look she gave me.  It was as if I had asked her if I had 5 eyes. I explained to her that Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies. (Matthew 5:44)  It was a hard concept for her to grasp;  And understandably so….so I prayed with her.  We prayed for Kathy.  We prayed for her almost every night for several months.

The school year came to an end and summer was here. She didn’t have any run ins with Kathy and her gang thankfully.

When the school year started back up – Ashley decided to join cross country.  Guess who else was on the team.  Yep – Kathy was on her team.  We encouraged Ashley to stick with it and we made sure we kept an eye on the situation.  Then something really cool happened.  Ashley and Kathy began to talk.  They began to run together.  They got to really know each other   Before we knew it – Ashley was asking if she could invite Kathy over to stay the night.  While her dad and I were apprehensive, we consented. We were pleasantly surprised.  Kathy turned out to be a fun girl and we enjoyed having her around.

Ashley and Kathy remain friends.  They have different goals in life and do not hang out anymore. But when they pass in the hall – Ashley gets a high five instead of a low blow.

Mercy. Love. Grace. Forgiveness. Friendship. A Life Lesson.  All of these and more were gained by following one simple teaching in the bible. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed all  of them.

Link

Check out this article. A single punch – that’s all it took to change this kids’ life.


$4.2 million settlement for student paralyzed by bully.

What an amazing attitude though!

Aside

Because they need Jesus so very badly…..


Because my heart over flows with love and throat closes up, I am calling out.  I am calling out to my Jesus and to all of you.  The words, they just hurt so much. We often take them far too lightly.

If you follow my blog, you have seen this picture of my Ashley….the most precious thing to me. She has had some really low lows in her life.   Most of them typical life lessons, some of them very personal life lessons.  Some of them self-inflicted, some of them not.  Some of them with emotional scars, some of them with physical scars.Just me

When Ashley was born, doctors could not explain how she survived my pregnancy. My placenta was severely malnourished, my umbilical chord was paper thin, and it was wrapped around her neck.  With my very first contraction her heart rate plummeted.  In a matter of literally minutes I was prepped and wheeled into surgery.  When she was delivered,  she was covered in stool.  This was an indication that she was in distress.  That alone could have suffocated her.  She was a healthy 6# 2oz, 21″long baby.  Her only challenge within the first week was jaundice.  I remember hearing the surgeon say “I don’t know how she survived this pregnancy”.  And I remember thinking to myself, I do!  I know why!

Or I should say I know how, the why is in the works.  I can’t wait to see what it is…..just what the Lord has in store for this amazing young lady.

Scripture tells us in Isaiah 54 that “No weapon formed against us shall prosper”.  I am clinging to that promise. Scripture also says that when we pray, He will heal us (see 2 Chronicles 7:14).

I am asking you to pray with me.  Not just for Ashley, but for all the teens that hurt.  For all the teens that think they are alone.  For the ones that feel as if no one understands.  Pray with me

Lord Jesus,

You created us in your image, all of us!  You never intended for any of us to feel alone. 

Father I pray in Jesus name that you would put people in the lives of hurting teens. People that they will listen to, and who will lift them up.  Help this generation of young people to see that they are so very valued.  Whatever it takes Lord, for each individual heart, you know what they need. Lead them into arms that will love them. Most of all Lord, lead them to people that will help them find you. And father because she is my child, and you have allowed me the privilege of raising her to love you and trust you, please Jesus, touch Ashley right where she is.  Give her peace and wisdom.  Help her make you a priority. 

In Jesus precious name, 

Amen

 

 

Think about your future – not your past


One of the reasons so many young people get into a slump is because they allow themselves to get stuck. They focus on what has happened to them instead of what could happen. They think about what they have been through and who has hurt them instead of thinking about where they are headed and where they want to go.

If you are one of those people, look in the mirror and say these words: I AM NOT MY PAST. Repeat it if you have to so that it sticks.  What has happened to you, the choices you have made, those are behind you. Work through the pain if you need to, but move on.  LET IT GO. It does not make you who you are.

Trent Shelton says it well in this video;      Trent Shelton – You’re not your past!

Find Trent on Facebook and follow him.  He is awesome!

Anyways, here is my point.  You don’t have eyes in the back of your head.  So quit looking behind you.  You’re not going that way!  Focus on your future.  It’s wide open.  Who do you want to be?  What kind of person do you want to marry?  Where do you want to go to college?  What do you want to study? Those are a just a few prompts to get you thinking.

God never said it would be easy, but He did say He would never leave your side.  Keep moving on – baby steps are fine.  Just don’t give up!

You are important to this world.  Believe that.551982_4469258019979_1312183950_n