I have started working with the Junior High at the church I go to here at school. Now, I kinda like Jr. High kids honestly. I think they are fun and funny and yet have a willingness to be vulnerable and be fed if you can capture their attention. They are also pretty bold.
These are things I have noticed are the same between the Jr. Highers I hung out with at home and the ones here.
We have a Sunday and a Wednesday program for the kids at at the Wednesday service we break into age groups. I go with 7th grade girls. Now, this last Wednesday was my first Wednesday with the girls and so the main leader in our break out group, LeighAnne let the girls ask me any questions they wanted to get to know me. I was cool with it. They asked a lot of questions about my hair….
Have you ever straightened it
How big can it get
Do you ever like walk in the wind and can’t see
And then they asked normal questions about my family and school and then there was one girl who was just a bit out of control that day and asked….
“Not to be rude, but have you ever wanted to commit suicide”
I really didn’t know what to do at first. My initial thought was O gosh is she asking because she appears confident but is dying inside. My second thought was …do I look like I’m sad or something?
So I just told her that no I had not, but that I felt like how we feel is really important and it’s something that we need to talk about. And then they went back to asking about my hair.
At first I was just floored, but it reminded how dynamic Jr. Highers are. They have so many questions, they get so much of how they think and feel from media these days but games and TV and the internet can’t answer questions like a person can. So they have so many and as obnoxious as they can be and as trying as they are, each of their questions needs attention.
These kids aren’t that different from the ones back home. My campers over the years have dealt with some major emotional and spiritual problems. Some of my girls that I check on and that talk to me have a million questions and need to talk.
And I’m cool with that.
However, there are a few differences between the kids from back home and the kids from here.
1.) The Jr. High boys back home are either a bit nerdy or home grown boys who like sports and cows or video games. Prob. 75% of the boys here where wanna be rockstar pants and have sweepy bangs and play music and video games.
2.) The kids from back knew me or of me their whole lives for the most part and a good chunk of them I babysat and got to watch grow up. So the relationships were embedded from the beginning making trust and friendships easy to cultivate. Here, they don’t know me from Adam and it’s all brand new. Some of them are much more open to the idea of a new leader than others. One girl in particular is a major attitude. Like major major. One of the other leaders says it took her two years to win this girl over. She is in 8th grade so I only have a few months to convince her to stop turning her back and smarting off when I walk up and then rolling her eyes so far back in her head she might black out when I talk to one of her friends.
But most of all, I like them. And it makes me miss these people.