A note I received from our Children’s Program Director:
“One of our teens has been through some tough things, and appears to be a tough 15 year old by the way he looks. I have had conversations with him where he told me about things happening in his life… drug use, gang violence (even in his family), his suspensions from school for being defiant to teachers, his hearing and eye sight disabilities. If you looked at him you would think he is an intimidating looking teen.
Last night after program he was walking home and looking very sad, underneath his hat, and inside his hood. I walked him home and asked him what was going on. He didn’t want to talk and I told him he didn’t have to if he didn’t want to… finally he dropped his toughness for a minute and confessed in a very sincere way that “sometimes the other kids don’t talk to me”. “I don’t know why they don’t like me”.
I spoke with him about his confidence, his appearance, and the way he talks with people. I told him he should smile more. He didn’t realize that he came off as being a little intimidating. I told him that I liked him, and that I thought the other kids liked him, and he smiled.
We both went to the playground and talked basketball with the other boys. When I left he shook my hand and told me to have a good night.
It reminded me that deep down, all children just want to be is accepted.”
It gives you hope doesn’t it? That encounter gives one young man an opening to change how he relates to the world. And, how he relates to the world can change his future.