I have come to learn a lot during my time as an employee at a middle school. Actually, I have learned one repeating theme: these kids are hurting. With each generation of children that enter school, they face problems and situations that their predecessors did not have to face. I am at least 19 years older than some of the children that I engage with and I am speechless at the issues that they face today.
Special Needs diagnoses
And the list goes on and on….
Granted, I am from Baltimore City so poverty and homeless are not new to me as a whole, but I never knew anyone who personally battled with those circumstances while I was in school. Either I was too sheltered or too oblivious, but I never saw it. As I watch the students at school now get into daily fight after daily fight, I recall my days at Chinquapin Middle School (better known as the Pen… as in Penitentiary). We were highly unruly students.
I remember on my last day of eighth grade my classmates and I took to the street after school and threw every piece of notebook paper that we had into the air to “redecorate” the surrounding neighborhood streets. Every single piece of paper. My class stayed in trouble because we ran our mouths a little too much. In 2019 students get lunch detention. In 1997-2000, my classmates got after school detention where we had to sit silently and do all of our homework from the day… and then catch the MTA (public transit) back home. We were terrors on the bus and most drivers limited the number of students on one bus. We cursed a little too much and did things like cutting another student’s hair (that actually happened to a friend of mine) when they weren’t looking. If there was trouble to be found, we became J. Edgar Hoover himself. We were highly unruly students. One call home to our mamas however, and we came in the next day, vying for sainthood. We were unruly because we were bored.
But these kids today are broken, battered, and bruised. Their behavior reflects the circumstances of their homes… and it is truly heartbreaking.
As technology increases, the workload of children changes. I grew up with encyclopedias in my home. I’m sure these children have never had to research something outside of Google and Siri. Yet no matter how much time changes, one thing remains the same: these kids need love.
With all of our advancements, we have strayed away from two core things- family and faith.
While I wouldn’t say that my family was a model family in any sense, I did have a support system. As the baby of five, there was always someone that I could turn to if I needed something. Especially after my one brother went to juvenile detention for raping me, my other siblings rallied around me and made sure that I wanted for nothing… even if it meant they had to sacrifice everything. My family, in their individual brokenness, built me up and made sure that I knew they would encourage and support me in any way possible.
Family is important. Family is irreplaceable. Family is needed.
Now faith on the other hand… just bear with me here. Faith saved me and I know it has saving powers.
I was raised in a semi-religious home with a mother who felt that if I wasn’t dead or dying, I belonged in someone’s church on Sunday morning. She felt that if no one else could get through to me, God surely could. Honestly, I think she thought that He was the only person who could reach me after the rape. She was right… but I didn’t realize that until recently. All I know is that my faith in a God who was bigger than my current situation allowed me to escape the pain of that situation.
These babies (yes, I’m at that age where everyone under the age of 18 is a baby) are lacking family and faith– the two things that are able to grow and develop them. My heart aches for them as I think of what I know they are missing because they face the trials of their world without the belief that someone truly loves them. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that every child is dealing with troubles or devastating situations. However, I am saying that those who are have these things in common.
So, what’s the point of this message?
These babies are facing battles that we have never experienced and will never be able to truly understand. Thankfully, we do not need to fully understand in order to pray for them.
This brief Monday Message was intentionally designed so that you could spend some time in your metaphorical prayer closets (as I enter mine). Let us be persistent and diligent in praying for the safety, growth, and education of our nation’s children.
It’s praying time.