I am feeling quite inadequate working with these young girls at church. I am being confided in, when opportunities arise, regarding the teenage years for girls. The issues being brought up are things like gossip, teasing, positioning battles, isolation, being caught in the middle of things.
I spent my teen years staying out of such things as much as possible. When situations involved me, I still kept out of it. If someone didn’t like me, let them not like me. If someone talked about me behind my back, what could I do about it if they didn’t want to confront me face to face?
However, keeping out of it didn’t mean that I was never hurt by some of the negative things.
I’ve been asked if it gets any better. I don’t know what to say. I am no good at sugarcoating. I don’t know if things will get better.
I’ve been asked about my friendships when I was that age. I can’t say that there’s much hope in those stories either. I didn’t find good, genuine friends that stuck around until I was in my 20s; another several years after that before I relaxed and trusted them. Everything for me is a long process that needs a lot of time. What good is that to a 12-/13-yr old who is lonely and vulnerable right now?
And these girls are not me. I sense that the silent independent generally unaffected [read: lonely] type approach I used isn’t what’s gonna work for these girls who are having difficulties. My sensitivities are different from theirs.
I found myself being able to say only that…I understand. Can that be enough?
What do I do when the girls are perpetuating the negative practices? It seems that they need more than a model of good behavior, and I am an imperfect model at that. I don’t know what they need as I tend to self-monitor those things. Another thing that doesn’t help is that they’re not going to do such things when I am around.
I still think God has me at the church for a reason and that the reason has to do with these young ladies. Since God provides us with all we need to carry out His work, is this one of those situations that I’ll hafta get comfortable with the idea of stumbling along and learning on the way? Because I definitely have no idea what I’m doing here. The teenage years can be rough on all; I pray that I do not hinder this time for them.
Please pray for these young women.
Mahalo for reading.