Proof that living out of a suitcase messes with your brain: your grammar and spelling get thrown right out the window.
Elections came, elections went. The signs are still up as are most of my Halloween decorations. My decorations are getting put away today as I hope the election signs get tossed soon as well.
Where have I been the past couple of weeks? Here: National Youth Workers Convention 2008 and here: The Revolve Tour - THE EVENT FOR TEEN GIRLS By education, I have a psychology degree which, due to my tendency to emphatically bring my work home and thus be a completely miserable person to live with, I don't use. I am still brought to my knees on a regular basis though by the pain that others suffer. Especially with teens.
Even though my own children think their parents are controlling nerds, other teens have long sought us out in times of trouble or as a place to unleash into silliness. We work with a fabulous team who also have hearts for young people, but wow, do we ever feel unequipped to help at times. I won't name all the problems among our group, but the list is long and the pain is deep.
The bright spots? We do see hope and progress. It IS there.
A couple of weeks ago, six youth leaders attended a conference that offered that hope. You can't help but feel it when hundreds of people are assembled together who have a burning desire to help our youth. When we talked to other youth leaders and were reassured that our problems weren't unique, we didn't feel so overwhelmed. We came home armed with information and a renewed sense of urgency to reach out not only to teens, but their families and our community as well. (I have a whole soapbox about community for another time, but maybe not. I feel pretty strongly about the global village. So strongly that I know my thoughts will probably blow some people out of the water, especially in this economy.)
Last weekend, I took girls to a weekend that was JUST FOR THEM. How often do girls get the chance to go wild, act crazy and listen to great speakers and music without the distractions of guys. I love guys (well, most of 'em), but they add a dynamic when mixed with teen girls that throws most girls into a wholly different personality. This weekend they could just be real; without the masks. I hope they feel they could bring some of that reality home with them.
This weekend, I'm home. Glorious home! I even get to completely unpack my bag. Until Thanksgiving week.
Until then, hug a teen. Give them a card of encouragement. If you don't know a teen, smile at one in the mall or behind the counter of your fast food restaurant. You might just make their day. They're usually great kids even if some of their quirks drive you crazy (like we don't all have our own quirks). By communicating that you care, you're becoming a part of their community. The one that believes in them.