Written by Margaret LOVE
There’s a sickening video that’s been doing the rounds on Social media recently, of a teenage boy being brutally hit, pummelled and slapped, in what looks like a School toilet (you may have already seen it), which has evoked enraged reactions from Instagrammers, Snap chatters, Twitter users, and anyone else on Social media with an iota of empathy.
Whats App group chats have been flooded with requests for the details of the School, where this gruesome attack against a seemingly innocent teen took place, while demands have been called for the culprits to be identified and apprehended.
”at the heart of every young person is a deep need to be accepted, loved, and valued”
Turns out the attack took place in the boys toilets at Bluford Drew Jemison STEM Academy in Baltimore. Although the victim, an aspiring rap artist assured everyone via Instagram that he was okay, and the School promised to deal with the incident according to the law, the violence displayed expressed by teenagers in this attack and others like it, begs exploration into what it is that influences the minds of our teens to behave in this way.
I often wonder about how difficult it is for young people growing up today. In a world where young people are bombarded with consumerism,the rapidly changing pace of technological innovation, the pressure of social media, questions about gender identity, uncertainty for the future, the breakdown of the family structure, and the security of a loving home, how do we support our young people to achieve mental well being?
There are many influences that contribute to the well being of young people ranging from positive peer and family relationships, to positive School engagement and social environment but at the heart of every young person is a deep need to be accepted, loved and valued. The basic needs of children transitioning into the teenage years and early adulthood haven’t changed.
One thing I’ve learnt from the work that I do with young people, is that they value connections. Authentic, wholesome connections, whether that’s you as a parent stepping into their world, me as a youth worker building bridges and making links, or you as a neighbour striking up a conversation with a young person on your street.
We need to be able to look beyond the perceived stereotypes and negative behaviour patterns displayed by our young people, in order to connect with who they really are and what it is that’s really going on for them.
I’ll never forget the opportunity I had to connect with a young teenage girl who attended a youth provision I managed. I knew something wasn’t right with her but couldn’t quite work out what is was. After many months of conversations, hot chocolate mountains, crisps and music sessions, she felt comfortable enough to share a family situation with me, which was the root of the unusual behaviour she’d been displaying.
God knows our young people and loves them for the people that they are now, not for who they’ll be ten years from now! He can reach them where they’re at, the dark recesse s of their hearts – even thosebullies from Bluford Drew Academy!
He can heal their minds and infuse them with hope but for Him to do that, we need to be willing to muck in and get our hands dirty. We can be His hands and feet, reaching out, building the missing connections, so that our young people can become wholesome in heart, mind and purpose.
”be willing to muck in and get your hands dirty”
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