To See a Juvenile Delinquent Make It Along the Way

Originally published April 2004.

If you have been a subscriber for some time you may remember that I work with juvenile delinquents or as I have affectionately named them, God's Family.  I have been quiet about them lately because very frankly, my heart is crushed by some of them.  I don't know how much more I can take but I also know I can't let go.  I have thought about it but I can't.  Someday there has got to be that final breakthrough.  Someday.  Meanwhile, I've often given up asking for others to pray for them because aren't those wonderful intercessors tired of praying for the same things, the same problems, the same but always new criminal charges they receive?  I am tired of praying for them.

The Problem--Or Non-Problem of Overscheduled Youth

Originally published February 2004.

Something happened in the 1980s which forever changed the schedules of teenagers.  Several studies were done that surmised in a nutshell that idle teens led to juvenile delinquency, particularly teens who were idle during the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. hours.  The term latchkey was coined and became part of normal vocabulary.  Parents cried out for something to be done. 

At this point the parents should have collectively said, "This is my child, I will fix this."  But they were already beaten down by authorities on children (including youth pastors) who didn't affirm them as parents.  They felt it was better for them to be affirmed at their long work hours than to take the responsibility for their children.

Real Ministry to Real Youth - Beneath the SS Answers and Youth Worker Know-It-Allness

Originally published October 2003.

I posted this question on a youth ministry message board including this journal entry from a 13-year old girl:

"Every day, just about, something new seems to be happening to this body of mine and I get scared sometimes. I'll wake up in the middle of the night and I can't go back to sleep, and I toss and I turn and I can't stop my mind; it's racing too fast, and everything is coming into it, and I think of my two best friends, and how their faces are all broken out, and I worry mine will break out, too, but so far it hasn't, and I think of my sizes, and I can't get it out of my head--the chest size and the stomach size and what I'll be wearing and whether I'll be able to fit into this kind of dress or the latest swimsuit. Well, it goes on and on, and I'm dizzy, even though it's maybe one o'clock in the morning, and there I am, in bed, so how can you be dizzy?