We found out last night about a local teen suicide. I am devastated. I don't personally know the boy, but my heart aches for his parents. I don't know them either, but as a parent..... well my heart is crushed for them.
I remember when I was a teenager. The world was one heck of a roller coaster and at times I felt like I was just barely hanging on. So many emotions, problems, issues all crammed into an adult-sized-body that is quite hormonal - but yet still a child.
Looking at things from a different perspective now - from a parent's point of view - it is hard to fully grasp how to let the kids know that they are "okay". That they are more than okay. That it doesn't matter what others think, that God made them special and they don't have to change who they are to be cool, and that their friends really aren't that smart and they don't have to listen to them.
Did I care what my parents thought when I was a kid? Quite frankly, not really. I was much more worried about what my peers thought. How does parental influence go from being the center of a child's world to being the last thing on that child's list?
I see it happening already. Our son is in 1st grade and he is already bringing home "bad habits". He lays in bed at night and will tell me the ins and outs of school, what So-And-So was doing, and how he can't do it as well as they can and how that's not fair and it makes him feel bad.
Every night my answer is the same: "You are special. God made you - YOU! He did not make you So-And-So. There are certain things that only you can do for God, and no one else will be able to do those things as well as you can. We just have to figure out what that is. God does have plans for you. They are big plans and they are good plans. And He needs you to be just who you are in order for those plans to happen."
Typically at the end of that conversation, he will say, "Thank you mommy, you are the best! I love you so much!"
I will never get tired of having that conversation. I just hope he starts to believe me. I want him to know without a shadow of a doubt that God is good - and that there is always hope in Jesus.
No matter what is going on in this crazy roller coaster world.