Imagine living in the midst of a warzone, or coming home to an empty house, not knowing when you’ll see your parents again. That’s what many difficult or at-risk youths face on a day to day basis.

We often think of them as rude troublemakers, but many of them have often had to grow up faster than they should, and are merely acting out because they’re struggling to make sense of the turbulent situations they’re facing at home. 

Like us, they dream of a bright future for themselves, but may feel the path is closed off to them because of their family background or the socioeconomic limitations that they face.

Maybe the next time you see a difficult or at-risk youth acting out, try having some compassion on them, or think about how we can share our resources with them. It could be a book or just a conversation, but it might change the course of their lives.

Just as Christ has redeemed us from our sinful natures and given us new life, remind these youths that their pasts don’t have to define them, and we are not the sum of our family’s, or our own, bad choices.

  • Give them the gift of our time and let them share the troubles they’re facing. 
  • Offer a space of rest and refuge. 
  • Share with them a message of hope and redemption. 
  • Help them find the resources they need. 
  • Identify their strengths and acknowledge the efforts they’re making.