Working with teenagers
I work with the most behaviourally challenged students at a wonderful Christian secondary school. Compared to other schools in the area, it’s a pretty good standard.
But of course, it’s a secondary school with male and female teenagers - so there is always something.
Working in this space has opened my eyes to a whole new world.
I have not only discovered care for others I hadn’t known before, but I have simultaneously lost significant faith in the honesty of a guilty teenager.
Getting them to open up is one thing, keeping a conversation going is another, and getting the truth is almost impossible.
Never have I heard so many sentences start with “so, basically…”, followed by, “this is what happened”, and concluded with an entirely catered view with their fraudulent innocence as the pinnacle point.
Regardless, I have the privilege of opening a safe space for these students to talk with me about school, life, and everything in between. And, as we continue to meet and they learn to trust in me, we go to places where we dissect their very real, raw and radical experiences of life.
Now, I’m not a father, nor do I feel called to be one. But as I collate these moments with these kids, I can’t help but feel things I have not felt before.
I deeply care for them, and I truly want them to be the best that they can be. I desperately want to have them see their value. Their potential. To see how much they’re loved.
How does God then feel about us?
I think of the times I sit across from them as they passionately spout their nonsense, and I can’t help but feel like shutting them up.
When they sit across from me spilling tears, I sit opposite in anguish desperately wanting to hook away all their unnecessary weight.
Or when they mess up a second chance - I can’t wait to reveal to them a third. A fourth. Or even a fifth.
And, oh, the times they sit in front of me and suggest that they know best. Oh, how I want them to take seven steps back and look at it again. To show them, to lead them, and to have them see things the way I do.
So, how about God?
How many chances is God willing to offer us? How often does He want to shake us? How far does He want to take us back to see the full picture?
Him and us
Because we are the ones sitting in the chair with Him opposite us. With Him seeing us cry. With Him seeing us in pain. Seeing us in adamancy of our own plan and our own strength to get things done.
It’s Him seeing us spout the nonsense, with our own truth at the pinnacle of our human lives.
And like the loving Father he is, He watches us. He sits with us. He offers chance after chance. He has chosen and continues to choose to unburden us.
He chooses us. And He loves us.
He chooses to love us. Without being impacted by the day of the week or being short with time.
He chooses to love us without condition and without fail.
Deuteronomy chapter 7, verse 6
So in your seat, look up. Find Him looking back at you. Listening. Smiling. Because He’s there with you. He’s with us. He chose us.
And He waits for us to finish.
To finish talking, crying, fighting… so He can reach out His hand, and take us seven steps back to see things how He sees.
What do you see from seven steps back?
The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession” (Deuteronomy chapter 7, verse 6)
Harrison is a 24-year old, raised in a non-Christian family and came to faith at 18. Having worked as a Marketing & Communications Assistant for two years after getting his Bachelor of Communications in 2019, He has swapped his home of New Zealand for Europe after a few months working at a summer Christian camp in Canada. He has a passionate personality which is illustrated in many facets of his life, from writing, to sports, food, friends, family and God. Harrison enjoys exploring and grasping different parts of life and discussing them with others. Chat with Harrison further at: email@example.com