I've come to meet a kid that lives on my block and always seems to be around the young people of a missions program (www.aimsunset.org) that live in my apartment complex. He is 14 and I've slowly come to notice how he never wants to go home and gets sad when his mom calls telling him to come home. For those who live near by and might be wondering, it isn't Dylon I am talking about.
In the family and youth class I am taking right now at the Bible school I attend (www.sibi.cc), I've been learning so much about families and the interaction with their kids. I've learned how important the family relationship is, and them spending time together. That being a youth worker and separating kids from the best avenue through which their adult formation comes (the family) is a rather foolish thing to do.
Today the kid approached me asking to use my phone claiming he had an emergency, so I let him use my cell phone. Though I couldn't hear who he was talking to or what about, I couldn't help but notice the stress and "lostness" on his face as I watched him speak on the phone in the distance. Handing me the phone that deep, lost look remained on his face, I guess the phone call hadn't been as helpful as he had wished it would have been. I asked him if everything was ok and without thinking twice or elaborating he gave me a quick "no". I thought for a few seconds before I could say anything else, simply for the fact that most people just say everything is fine even though their life might be a wreck. But with him it was different, he wanted someone to talk to, he had been longing for someone to look him in the eyes and ask him if everything was ok. As I spoke with him a little longer I came to find out that his relationship with his mother wasn't going so well and about how much he dislikes his new school. Suddenly I realized I wasn't listening as close as I should have been when he began to tell me about how depressed he has been, and that he has reached the point of contemplating suicide.
My heart shrunk when I heard this and I began to regret every single moment I invited him to come over and "chill" with us and "get out of the house". I had been doing the very opposite of what I am learning, I was inviting him to get away from his family, the very thing he needed the most. We were talking while I was slowly trying to shift our conversation into a Bible study, when he told me he needed to be home because he had gotten into trouble and his mom had grounded him from hanging out with "the Christians across the street". Yeah, I thought it was pretty ironic too. I walked him to his door and talked as much as I could. When I meet his mother she didn't seem very happy or welcoming towards me. I tried talking to her but she "kicked me out" as politely as she knew how to at the moment. As the door was closing pretty much in my face I, glanced for a couple seconds into a home where love and peace between parent and child are inexistent, a broken home, a home that needs the love of Christ. The place was dark, but not because of the absence of light, rather the absence of love. A chill went down my spine as the door finally shut and I heard some slight yelling inside that couldn't be understood.
I regret every time I encouraged him to leave the house. If you know of any child that doesn't like being at home and "chilling" with their parents, don't make things worse by inviting them closer to their problem (the lack of relationship with their parents). I might have lost the battle, but I haven't lost the war. I am going to persevere and try to aid this family to better their relationship with each other through Christ. My father once told me that "Fools never learn from their mistakes, but smart people learn from their past mistakes. However, wise people learn from others' mistakes". I pray you take this mistake of mine as an example of what not to do to our youth, I pray you may strive to bring our youth closer to their families and closer to Christ.