Driving by our local high schools in the morning, during lunch hour or mid-afternoon often
causes me to think more clearly.
Maybe it’s because of the extra traffic on the roads – parents dropping off or picking up their kids. Maybe it’s because of the giant yellow buses that partially block my view of the road, and yet play an important role in transporting young people to and from school. Maybe it’s because of the plethora of young people hanging out in front of the school, down the sidewalks and across the road. Maybe you experience the same heightened sense of your surroundings when you drive by our high schools.
I have spent too many of my 20 years working with youth thinking I knew a lot about the teenage mind and how to help teens. When I was younger and worked at a children’s camp, I thought I knew it all and that I could give what the teenage staff needed. When I worked in a youth correctional facility, I thought every young person who entered the facility needed what I was trained to give them.
My experience has taught me many things. Post-secondary education and many training workshops and conferences has taught me many things. However, the greatest lesson of all is not learned in a classroom: every young person is an individual created by God and deserves to be treated as one.