When I began as a volunteer in the First Aid room, one of the first things that struck me was the opportunity I had to be part of affirming the truth, and when necessary, empowering our kids to rewrite the script that plays through their minds. As I saw kids who were hurt or discouraged, I found genuine joy in taking the two minutes I had while putting on a bandaid to be a voice of love, grace, and truth in their lives. As I saw kids that were excited and engaged in the program, I was able to affirm and celebrate what they were learning and how it was shaping them. Words are powerful, and this season, I have been reminded of that in a profound way.
This season, I was part of a conversation where an individual had been hurt by the words of others. Frustrated, hurt and confused, this person shared their heart and questions with myself and their mentor. In a moment drenched with pain, tears and despair, hope broke through. This mentor looked this youth in the eyes and reminded them of what is true: that they are known, loved and amazing. That they are not defined by the perceptions of others, rather by a truth that no one can take away from them. That they are beautiful, talented and inspiring. That their life is making a difference in the lives of many others.
I love that within my role, I am able to witness so many moments where one of you has used words of faith, hope and love to challenge a script of defeat, anger or discouragement.
When everything was settled, and this individual had returned to the group, I walked away and wondered, what happens to the child who only knows the script of fighting, or of questioning worth? What are the next steps for the youth who believes that they cannot do well at anything? If the script of hopelessness is allowed to run on replay for days, weeks, months or years—what is the impact?
And in my wondering, I see you. I see you looking a child in the eyes and telling them they are loved. I see you asking a youth if they really want to fight someone, or if they can learn to solve conflict in a healthy way. I see you asking children what their big dream is, and cheering them on as they share their heart. I see you teaching memory moments and unpacking them on the bus. I see you choose to be present, to truly listen, and to respond with truth, encouragement and guidance. I am filled with hope, because I see you.
Our kids need us. They need to know through our actions and our words that they are loved, made for a purpose, and can dream big dreams for their lives. They need to know that we have a confident expectation that they will reach their full potential, and we are standing with them as they do. They need us to be people who are willing to walk and talk through life with them. We are called to encourage, to inspire, to nurture.
We are made to share life with one another. We are a people of faith, a community of hope, servants of love.
You are changing the world, through the words that you speak, one child at a time.