We had an interesting "Youth Church" lesson today. Youth Church is what we call our junior high group that meets during the sermon time. That helps identify it from the Sunday school that meets before the service. Anyway, I always give the kids a snack and let them socialize for awhile before we start. This week the talk centered around a drug bust in which one of the kids they all new was arrested for selling pot out of his locker at school. The school was locked down, dogs were brought in, and lockers were searched with a heavy police presence. Then the boy was led away.
Their discussion was very animated. Everyone was intensely interested. I had a lesson all prepare but I chose to let this conversation continue. They were dealing with an issue that confronts them everyday and pushes against their faith and choices they make. The boy arrested is from a church attending family. Why had he chosen this path? How does the enemy entice you into destructive behavior? How will you react when offered the seemingly innocuous joint at a party? What if...
I could not have planned a better lesson. Near the end I asked them if they wanted to hear my story. I revealed to them a less-than stellar past of addiction and how God saved me. It was a little more than I had intended to reveal about myself but may have given me a little for credence for knowing what I was talking about. I was able to clear up a lot of misinformation that had been voiced, like the addictiveness of pot and it's role as a "gateway" drug. I shared my battle and the path back to relationship with God. They listened intently. I felt like I was speaking to adults.
We still had a little time left, it was a nice day, so I suggested we end with a game. Their choice: Duck, duck, goose. They played with child like abandon. This is understandable since they are still children, yet the jump from a serious conversation about drugs to the innocence of a children's game left my head spinning. As students, they deal with this incongruity everyday. Is it any wonder that they seems dazed and confused sometimes? My sympathy for their situation has intensified even more. Kids really need us to be good role models for them. They need us to be involved in their lives, to teach them what we know (when their ready to hear it).
I remember when I was offered my first joint. I was twenty. They are twelve. As a twenty year old Christian I made the wrong choice. How can we possibly expect them to make the right choices. Frequently they do make the right choices. That is a time to marvel proudly. We talked about how the enemy will attack when we are at our most vulnerable at a point where we are at our weakest. They got it because they had just seen it in real life.
I'm glad I was there. Hadn't planned it. God must have. Right place at the right time. Ok, what will happen this week? Stay tuned.