The other day I attended my old primary school’s carnival. You know, the typical school fair with rides, stalls and a whole lot of kids running around. It brought back a lot of memories.
Memories of attending the carnivals as a school student back in the day, but mostly memories of going through primary school and middle school and all those moments of trying to fit in. Those years were the years when I tried figure out who I was. I observed everyone else in their little cliques of friends and wondered where I fitted in.
How I’ve moved
Standing in that carnival, now nineteen years old and well and truly escaped from the politics of primary school and middle school drama, it was a nice feeling to see how far I’ve come.
Well, I should probably say how far God’s brought me. Those years were a very long, hard haul for me. God was faithful, though, as He always is and brought me through them.
He turned the hard moments of being left out as a primary school kid into an awareness of others and the importance of having compassion and empathy. He turned the longing for friends into understanding what a friend is, and why we need them so much.
He brought along people to encourage me, influence me and help me see the value in myself. Every little part of the journey along the way has made me who I am today. Those primary school days of not knowing who I was are well and truly gone.
Thanks to God and the people and experiences He brought into my life, I have vision for myself now. I have likes and dislikes, passions and personal bottom-lines. I have dreams and things that I love to talk about.
The people who changed me
Being at that carnival brought back the memories of when I didn’t have those things. It reminded me how much of a journey it was to get here. I realised that sometimes I take for granted the things that I’m so used to now, but really – they are a gift.
Growing up is a beautiful and messy thing. Looking around at that carnival, I saw so many tween girls and thought about how they were probably going through some of the same questionings that I was going through at that age.
I know that I could have never gotten through those years without the people that came into my life to encourage me and show me the cool things about me that I never saw. People like my youth leaders, teachers and mentors.
If there are any youth leaders, teachers or mentors reading this, from one kid who had their life changed by people like you - thank you. Although the kids you influence may never express it, you are changing their life. By being a friend to them, you are helping them to see that they matter. That they have awesome things to offer the world.
The way that you love, encourage and teach kids, tweens and teens of this generation will change the world. They will never forget it. So, thank you, for doing what you do.
Caitlyn Furler is a lover of writing, music and people. She is a first-year university student, studying music and literature. She is a worship leader in her church and is enjoying doing braver and braver things.
Caitlyn Furler’s previous articles may be viewed at: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/caitlyn-furler.html