Apr 8, 2011

What Am I Supposed To Do Part 2

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Last week's article described the desperate plea from an emotional street youth, "What am I supposed to do?", along with a key question, "What are we supposed to do?". The article has sparked a lot of comments and feedback. Good!

We've had insightful and open responses from street youth, former street youth, and followers. Suggestions and comments have come on both questions of "What is a desparate street youth to do?" and "What are we to do?".

On the issue of the street youth, some had said the street youth must be patient. Some have said the youth must work harder. Some have said the youth must want to get better. Some have said there is a big danger of the youth becoming dependent on handouts and getting even more stuck on the street. Many have said the youth needs help from loving compassionate people. All insightful answers and all with truth in them. Here are a few excerpts from comments. None are intended to be out of context, but you can read the entire comments on FaceBook and the blog:

  • I loved the open and loving famly of the street. I had more trust in street people that normal people.
  • God gives us the opportunity to change and if we want to.
  • I was a street kid. I have to say that a majority of street youth just want things done for them. Prayer is one of the best hopes our until we are ready to make a change.

I can tell you what the particular youth who uttered these words to me is doing.  The youth has decided to take things one day at a time. The youth has reduced drinking. The youth has found a friend with a house willing to share a couch and a bathroom. The youth feels a bit torn between the old lifestyle, hanging out with real street family every day, and being with new friends. But the youth is taking it day by day.

On the issue of what should we do in response to street youth needs, we've had a variety of answers, as well. We have heard from street youth who say we need to be much attentive, treating them with much more dignity and respect and being much more generous. We've heard from former street youth that we need to take great care and not enable the street youth with too much care for too long. That their discomfort and lack needs to be a signal for them to think about, plan, and begin to make changes in their life. And we have heard from followers who express a real sense of helplessness in not knowing how to respond. They offer to pray but don't know what else would be of real, significant and lasting value. Here are some comments in no particular order and from all the above groups of people:

  • Even years later I still need reassurance that people accept some of my eccentricities.
  • Sometimes all you can do is say, "Here I am. I accept you." Be the stability they need.
  • Hold a street youth without pressure. Like a wet bar of soap. If you squeeze too tightly, it will slip away.
  • You need to do more than pray. When we're in need of something you can give and all you do is pray, it's not helping.
  • Prayer is good but there is also a certain amount of action needed on both parts (street youth and others).
  • Do nothing blindly but don't be numb.
  • There is a testing of the spirits that has to be done so we know that [help] is not in vain.
  • I believe that anyone who holds on to trivial posessions while there are hungry people in the world is falling short of the mark. I'm not saying everyone should go out and sell all they own, but I believe the person we should all be striving to do would... and did.

In the next part of this article we will explore what Christ would do... or at least what the Bible suggests on the whole that Jesus would do today. What would Jesus do? What am I supposed to do? Great questions with which to keep wrestling! "What are we supposed to do?" Please share your response to this series.

-- Terry

"To know, love and serve street dependent youth."
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