It was recently brought to my attention that there are a few that feel I tend to hang out with youth more than adults because I like the ‘drama’ and being involved in it. When I first heard this, I laughed because it couldn't be farther from the truth. Then it kind of hurt.
My personality is such that I am a youthful person; I see life a lot differently than most adults. I am open and honest and not uptight, so most youth feel comfortable around me. Working at a school, working with the youth at church and having the means to provide activities at my home allows for a lot of youth to walk through my doors. And with life, unfortunately often comes drama. Do I search it out and want to be in the middle of it? Not at all. If that were the case, I would spend all my time backstage with the youth during a theatre production instead of in the lobby. When youth are at my home and it is getting late, I remind them to check in with their parents and then trust that they have. When youth come for a movie night, I trust they have picked a good movie for the group, but that doesn't always happen.
I have had youth break into my home to pull ‘pranks,’ take my car without permission, rough house way beyond normal in my home, steal, and lie to me. I try to teach them lovingly where the boundaries are and what is and isn't appropriate. Some learn, some don’t. On the other hand, I have had the privilege of late night gospel talks and providing a safe place for kids to hang out in a town with not much for them to do. I have been praised and I have been criticized for this. That is okay, I have been blessed by Heavenly Father to know what I am supposed to do concerning youth and I try to follow that.
I asked a few people, adults and youth, what they thought of a statement like that about me wanting to be at the center of the drama. They too laughed and didn't feel it was true. That was reassuring. So I asked them why they think it is I tend to ‘hang out’ as some would call it with youth more than adults. I was touched to hear them say things like: “you listen to us and don’t jump to conclusions,” “you trust us.” “You show us and our ideas respect,” “you go out of your way to help one of us in need.” These phrases were very kind of others to say and I hope they are true. I would love to be that kind of person. I often say I hang out with youth because I have no life. That isn't entirely true. I have a wonderful life. I love the opportunities I am blessed with to help people and travel. My children and their spouses like having me around so I know I am not overbearing and a pain! I go out of my way to give them the space and privacy that they need even when we travel together. If they ask my advice, they know I will give it, but if they don’t, I really try to stay out of their way. As a mother, that can be hard sometimes. But I must be doing things right because they all like having me around.
Thankfully, I am not one to place my faith in people. I place it in my God. What others say may hurt for a bit but what matters is my relationship with God. There are those in this life who have hurt me and I forgive them. That doesn't mean I have to trust them or spend time with them. To know I am doing His will and what is asked of me to the best of my ability is comforting. May we all be more kind with our words and forgiving in our relationships. Don’t judge others, leave that to God.