I wanted to blog twice yesterday but I failed miserably! So much for keeping promises! :-( As I mentioned in my previous blog, I wanted to honor some pretty awesome people.
1) The teens from the Jesus Loves the Little Children orphanage
Since the start of the year, I’ve been heading over to Pasig City proper to meet with 10 to 15 of these teenagers (they range from 13 to 20 years old) to do some training sessions, but every time we end our sessions and I head home, I feel like I’m the one who was enormously blessed by them. The first time Camille came with me, she said, “You can tell that these kids are real leaders.” I know what she means. I am always humbled by the way they listen and the way they talk and ask questions. They would sit with us from 6 to 9 pm, focused all the way. I am blessed with the insights and experiences they share with us. There were two instances that I’ll never forget, the times I was asked these questions:
“Ate, pwede ba mahingi yung extra handouts mo? Gusto sana namin i-share dun sa mga ni-re-reach out namin…” (their orphanage is right smack in the middle of an urban poor community)
“Ate…anong age ba dapat kami para i-share ‘to?” (this was sheepishly asked by one of the 14 year olds who wanted to share what he learned for the day with his other friends)
These instances show me what kind of hearts these kids have. Some of these kids are living in the orphanage because some of them can no longer be supported by their parents. In these cases, they still see their parents once in awhile. Meanwhile, some of them have been simply abandoned by their parents. Either way, they talk about how God met them at their lowest point and protected them, provided for them, and loved them all these years. Then they talk about how they just want to share all that with the people around them. How unexpected is that–these orphans are the ones reaching out to the kids who have families!
I can go on and on about them. These young people are really great–with bright, bright futures ahead of them. :-)
2) These high schoolers from San Beda Alabang
I first met some of these lovely people when we did a True Love Waits talk in their school last year. I came across them a month later and got to know them better when we had True Love Waits small group trainings for their peer counselors org.
I love how they want to help their peers by listening to them, counseling them, and encouraging them. These kids are so easygoing and pleasant, I can imagine that their classmates and friends just feel better when they’re around them! But beyond that, the kids you see in this photo are on a different level altogether. This photo was taken at the True Love Waits conference last Saturday. They weren’t required to go, but a number of them went because they wanted to be there, which tells me that they’re committed to the True Love Waits message and they’re committed to sharing their convictions with the people around them. Not quite the popular stand at their age, but it’s a stand that they’re taking and I really admire them for that!
3) My cousins
I’ve got a lot of cousins, 90% of them are younger than me, most of them are still in school. If there’s one thing about them that immediately stands out with me, it’s how much they value family. They take good care of their siblings, they honor their parents, and they spend a lot of time bonding with their respective families and with us, their extended family. They’re so much better at it than I was, when I was their age!
Question: What do these 3 groups have in common?
Answer: A lot! But as I write this blog, one thing pops up at the the top of my head: sometimes they don’t realize it, but these young people are already living successfully in major areas of their lives just by the way they are living today. When I’m around them, I am saddened when I see some of them who aren’t very confident and don’t believe in themselves. I’ve realized that it’s so easy for us to point out when people do things wrong, but we tend to forget or take for granted the importance of pointing out when people do things RIGHT.
Scenario 1: My nephew is misbehaving. Frustrated, I tell him, “We want to see you be a good boy.” He replies, “I don’t know how to be a good boy. My teachers tell me I’m always a bad boy. I don’t know how to be good.”
Scenario 2: I was doing an exercise with the teenagers from the orphanage, where we go down a list of skills and abilities that are often overlooked and we check those skills that we have. At the end of the exercise, I get comments like, “Ate, ‘di ko pala alam na mahalaga din pala yung hilig ko sa pag-o-observe ng mga bagay.”
These two scenarios remind me how important it is to find ways to encourage, uplift, and compliment and not just always correct, edit, or change.
If you’re someone who’s around someone younger than you—a child, a cousin, a nephew or niece, a student, etc.—don’t wait for a major achievement, award ceremony or special occasion to tell that person how awesome they are. Find a way or find a reason to do it today!
If you’re a young person, don’t forget: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) There are lot of reasons why you are special. First of all, God made you that way! :) He prepacked you with a lot of good stuff—talents, skills, strengths, abilities, quirks–that make you super unique. You’re so special, and God has great things in store that only you can do! I pray that you’ll discover this truth, embrace it, believe it, and go out in the world and live it!
And now…time to go and follow my own advice! :)