I have spent the last week being camp mom at Camp Harlow, which is the camp our church owns just outside of Eugene, Oregon. I used to be employed at the camp for five years and enjoyed being part of the ministry there.
I have seen an increase in the kids whose parents got divorced and consequently, the majority of the campers are hurting inside and the issues that have been caused by their parents will always be a part of their lives.
Kids tell me that they don’t believe it is possible for them to have a long term marriage. Some kids hang on to anyone because they are looking for connections. Girls will look for approval from damaged guys, girls call each other “sister” or call older women “mom”. It is better to have a boyfriend/girlfriend than to be alone. They are starved for affections and will do most anything to get it.
Many kids see their parents have multiple relationships, so think nothing of hooking up with someone, without realizing the hurt that comes from each breakup. Kids nowadays are saying they feel like “ping pong balls” or “dollar bills” because they are tossed back and forth from parent to parent and the issues of money become about how much one parent owes the other for child support. Child support? Hardly.
Kids are a gift from God and He has entrusted us, as parents to love them, do the best we can for them, support and encourage them and raise them to be well-adjusted kids who turn into well-adjusted adults; something greatly lacking in our society today.
How can we help? Become a cheerleader and hero to a child who is hurting. Listen non-judgmentally. There is a reason behind all those tattoos and piercings, flashy hair colors and black clothing. There is a reason behind that anger, bad behavior and crude language. They don’t see Jesus around them and don’t feel His unconditional love and acceptance for them. They desperately need to know they have value and you can be the hands and feet of Jesus to them. They need to know they matter. They need to be lifted out of isolation and depression. They need to see Jesus in YOU. Engage in a conversation with a kid. Care enough to ask questions about their life.
“Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” Matt. 19:14 “Little children” doesn’t stop at the end of elementary school age, even if this Bible story is about little children running to Jesus. ALL children; ALL people need Him! Bring them to Him.
Begin this day by asking the Lord to put people, whether they are children, teens or adults, in front of you and then love them in the name of Jesus. Scared and nervous? Ask Him to show you the way and He will. All He wants is a willing heart.