Yesterday was an emotionally fatiguing day. It seemed like every time I turned around there was another reason to think about teenagers.

There were more details about Monday’s tragic stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two of her 12-year-old friends. Friends!? Yes. That’s what they say. I’m relieved the victim will survive. I’m already praying for her emotional wellbeing.

Unfortunately, for the girls who planned this sad assault, the line between fiction and reality blurred. They allowed the fictional urban legend of Slender Man from the creepypasta site to influence their thinking. I’m praying for them, too.

I want us to spend less time wondering what these parents might have done better or differently and make sure we’re doing what we can with the children and teens we influence. Does that make you uncomfortable?

Placing blame is easy. Instead, let’s choose to offer hope to parents in the throes of loving kids the best they can. I’m praying for these parents.

Second, a colleague told me about a number of teens who are confused and hurting. They’ve experienced mean and unloving peers trying to convince them they’re nothing or worse.

I see it far too often – teens hurting hurting teens. Telling lies to paralyze.

Too many believe them and begin to die inside.

We must be alert. We can’t let that happen.

Which parents, preteens, and teens do you know who you could reach out to?

Start the conversation. Keep talking. Ask questions. Better questions. Answer theirs. Now.

Don’t wait for a better time. Don’t wait for it to be more necessary than it is right now.

Listen to learn, not to judge.

Care before you share. Feel and think.

Talk to inspire. To help. To encourage. Wait before you teach.

Do it now. And later. And again. Later.

Listen to their heart and their head. Don’t give up.

All around us people are walking and wondering. Let’s extend hope even if we don’t know them. It doesn’t have to be a big deal.

  • Smile as you walk past coworkers.
  • Ask someone how she is and show with body language, eye contact, and facial expression, that you do want and care about a real answer.
  • Give a gift of money anonymously to someone who needs it.
  • Pray to God on someone’s behalf.
  • Send a card just to let someone know you’re thinking of him and he’s not alone.
  • Give something practical to help someone having a hard time.
  • Volunteer with an organization that is meeting needs.
  • Tell others about the source of your hope.
  • Listen to someone who’s hurting.
  • Contribute to an organization whose work you value.
  • Share your joy.
  • Share your concerns so someone can bless and encourage you by their presence, advice, and prayers.
  • Teach truths to replace lies.
  • Offer light to people living in darkness.
  • Love unconditionally. Love so it shows up and lasts. Absolutely.
  • Share Christ.

A section of today’s blog was adapted from a blog posted on 5-6-13.

And, another section of today’s blog was adapted from a blog posted on 4-29-13.