Putting myself in the shoes of my students…

youth ministry

Someone posted this picture on facebook today. Can you tell which one is me?  haha.
(If you really can’t guess, I am the white girl. The only one.  More specifically, the one in the left-hand corner of that center pic.)

This picture is from the 6th grade, back in 2001! Wow!  That feels like soooo long ago, yet it was only a decade ago.  I hear that’s a short amount of time in the grand scheme of things.

I can’t stop looking at this picture.  To me, this pic speaks volumes to me, as I begin remembering each individual in that class, remember how difficult that year was for me, and remember how stinking awkward I was.  I was a 6th grade girl, unique from the rest of my class in many ways.  It sincerely brings tears to my eyes thinking about that difficult time in my life.

I keep asking myself, “Is how I felt then how many of my youth feel now?”  It puts things into great perspective for me.  Do they feel different from the rest of people in school?  Are they dealing with two-faced backstabbers?  Are they dealing with gender roles?  Identity issues?  Sexuality?  You bet.  Race/ethnicity issues?  More so than not.  As hard as it was for me a decade ago, it’s harder now for this group of middle schoolers.  The times are a-changing.

I posted this really to inspire.  I don’t have any advice really.  All I can say is this:  When your teenager (whether it is in your youth group, or your child, or your sibling) comes to you with problems, are you putting yourself in their shoes?  Look back and remember how difficult things were for you.  Then remind yourself of how more difficult everything is now.  And then have compassion.

Here are some more pics of me from middle school:

this was one of my best school pics, ever (6th grade)

My second trip to summer camp. I was 14.

this was when my friends and I thought it was cool to wear long dangly elegant earrings with t-shirts. or, one long earring and one stud.

this lady has been my best friend for the last ten years :)

I’m the white girl in the back. I used to hide in the back of photos.  this was my youth group 8th grade year (going into high school)! I wore these dorky fake glasses, because that was my style.

This is from my freshman year of high school, but it’s so dorky and I don’t even know what I was thinking with that dress. haha.

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