Recently a young marine from one of our communities was killed. For many of our junior high students this was their first face to face encounter with somebody having to sacrifice their life for our freedom. Many of our students knew this young man, and were struggling with dealing with the emotions and fears of a moment like this.
My job as junior high minister is not to take the pain and fear away from them. I believe my job is to work along with their parents to help them understand what emotions they are actually dealing with. We have to help a student understand why they are lashing out in anger when they are feeling upset about this situation. We have to help junior high students see how this can lead to worse and worse issues if they don’t talk and evaluate the situation.
In other situations junior high students will get disappointed about a situation. A young girl may find out that the boy of her dreams doesn’t like her. This sounds like not a big deal to us, but in a junior highers mind this is terrible. They feel that nobody will ever love them. This girl may close herself up in her room and cut communication off from everyone. This can lead to depression and other major problems.
Once again I am not called to make this pain go away, but I think we can help students put this into perspective. I can help the student and the family see a good solution to the problem.
Preparation is key in any of these situations. Junior high students need to be taught from the very beginning that pleasing God is our ultimate goal. We are not here to please or impress other people. In Romans 12:2 it says this:
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
We need to always point students to God for their value. Parents, friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends will always let us down, but if we put our trust in God he will transform us!
Be in the moment for your junior high students. Guide them and teach them to rely on God even before these bad times come.