Last week during one of my youth drug and alcohol meetings I had a beautiful young woman with eyes filled with fear say “this has been my whole life for four years”. Sadly, she was referring to smoking pot, a large amount of it daily, sprinkled with alcohol and a plethora of pills and other narcotics over the last four years of her life. She is currently 17 years of age. I watched carefully her reactions to my words and questions. Her eyes clearly showed a deep fear and anxiety about getting off of probation and no longer being under someone’s supervisor. She didn’t have a clue how she was going to deal with her new freedom once it was granted. What was she going to be able to pull from deep inside herself to conquer something that clearly had become her whole life; her words not mine. I wondered as I finished up and left the group if she had the proper support system in place to help her conquer her drug use which has been her coping mechanism since the tender age of 13. Or would she wind up like so many other young people out there on their own trying to figure it out and ending up in a lost situation, moving on to bigger quantities of more toxic, dangerous narcotics.
Drug users, drug addicts… wow people sure do have their opinions on the value of their lives. Sad really that so many folks just decide without any real knowledge of addiction to label these individuals as worthless, trash, lazy, and quite frankly those are just a few that are fit to print. How quickly so many are to judge and label their fellow man. I personally find it deplorable; placing labels on anyone. I talk with so many young drug users who had been labeled by their family members. These labels stick folks and it’s difficult for young ones to break free from them. More likely they conform to them because most of today’s youth aren’t taught how to rise above their circumstances. They aren’t given the tools they need to figure out how to become all they are meant to be.
Most of us, as parents are so busy trying to raise happy children that we forget to raise skilled children; children with the skills to cope responsibility with life and whatever gets thrown their way. Society is also busy making sure to gift our children self-esteem. Everyone gets a trophy regardless of whether they have earned it or not. Awards are often given out for less than stellar performance even within the academic community. What does that teach our children? Does it teach them to work to be exceptional? We do so much for them and then expect as they grow up for them to “reach inside and count on themselves” to figure everything out. We expect them to know how to deal with failures and accolades, rejection and popularity. What happens when they fail to our expectations or their own and their inner strength isn’t enough?
Ah, okay you’re probably thinking… I wondered when she was going to go there. Well, yes I am going to go there. Are we failing to teach our children faith, faith in God? We are so busy teaching them things of this world and yet we don’t give them the opportunity to even explore faith in Christ. Why is that? Don’t they deserve the chance to know there is a living God that they can draw near to for strength and comfort? Don’t our young people deserve to know that they don’t have to go through life depending on just their inner strength to navigate through life’s maze of twists and turns?
I wonder if the young woman I mentioned earlier is equipped with the tools of faith to help her on her journey to stay drug free. I wonder if she was taught that she is truly special and truly worthy of having a life filled with joy. I wonder if she knows that she isn’t alone in her fight; that she is loved unconditionally!