I am blessed with the most incredible friends. I have friends in their 80’s and friends in their teens. In fact there are several 4-6 year olds that I had the honour of teaching sunday school to, that brighten my day and my life as much as any friend my age. They always greet me with an excited wave or hug and love to tell me about the wonderful things that are happening in their lives. I am grateful for the joy and wonder that each of them add to my life.
I am blessed to have served with youth for several years now. The young women that I serve with are incredible friends to me. They are always kind, supportive, fun, and teach me much more than I could ever hope to teach them. I often feel inadequate to be an advisor or leader when I took so long to find my own path and happiness in life.
This week I am once again eternally grateful to one of my amazing teenage friends. I wrote her to apologize for some of my short comings and the response I so lovingly received will forever be in my heart. In part her kind words said ” I forget people go through the same sort of trials that I do, so hearing your stories and how you overcame them and how it was okay that you had them in the first place, it really helps…You are one of the only leaders that I have ever felt really cares about me”.
I share her words because they had a profound affect on me. I truly do care about each and every youth I serve with. I love their spirits. I have often felt I was less of a leader because I struggled along the way so much, because I still struggle with self esteem and other issues…but then my friends letter got me thinking…it is our friends that understand us, have compassion and insight because they have gone through similar trials. When I was a teenager I thought no one understood me, or what I was going through…especially the adults in my life who had it all together and never admitted to having struggled or made a mistake, and didn’t seem to remember what being a teen was like.
I remember being a teenager. I remember people always saying “this should be the best time of your life” and me thinking “OMGosh please tell me this is not it”. I would not go back to the emotions, social pressure or life of a teenager for anything. Some times I think we are so busy trying to show the world that we have it all together that we forget how much sharing our struggles, successes and hearts with others can strengthen friendships and enrich lives.
I am grateful to the teenagers that I know today. They are incredible. They stand for what they believe in, they have integrity and kind hearts and service oriented lives.They are stronger and more together than I ever was at their age. Some of them are more together than I am now. I am impressed and touched by who they are and thank them for being among those I call Friend.