I have recently signed up to be a Compassion blogger. Each month I will be given a topic to discuss, to inspire.2C_on_white_English280

This month’s topic was to tell your story of an adult that made a lasting difference in your life as a child.

I tried really hard to find something that stood out to me. I thought of all my favorite teachers, and adults, my parents, their friends etc. And the funny thing is… I couldn’t come up with a distinct moment that I remembered.

I’m sure there were moments, I turned out ok, and I have a healthy respect for adults, God and life in general. So there must have been some.

The funny things is, I can remember what was not said, and how that shaped me.

D and I spent several years working with middle school youth at two different churches. I really enjoyed this time. I “got” middle school kids. I understood how the most unimportant of things could see monumental to a 12 year old. I understood the dynamic of their relationships with their friends, and I understood the warring pressures of doing what’s right and fitting in.

Although you are not supposed to have favorites, I couldn’t help it. There was one little boy, he was little too. He was the smallest of the boys and had a personality to make up for it. He was your typical class clown. He always acted up, was funny, and distracted everyone. At this particular middle school group, most of the kids had troubled parents, and you could see it in each of them. But this boy really got to me. Although he distracted everyone and didn’t pay attention to what you wanted him to, he was amazing. He could get a whole room to pay attention to him, and they would all follow whatever he wanted. He asked questions at the wrong times, usually to play devil’s advocate. But those questions were insightful and difficult to answer. They caused me to really think about my faith.

This little boy was overlooked in many ways, mostly because of his acting out. He frustrated adults. But with charisma like that… imagine what he could do. Image the role he could play if he found and listened to God. If his powers could be harnessed for good, he could make a impact. He could make a difference in this world.

And because I knew he didn’t hear it very often, whenever he was in trouble, I made it a point to let him know that I knew he was better than that and I told him that I believed in him. I used those words.

It is one thing for people to believe in you. It is wholly another to hear someone outright say those words to you.

I had people who believed in me, but I remember wanting to hear those words.

While sometimes actions speak louder than words, it is not always the case.

To read more stories of lives that have been changed click here. To sponsor a child, click on the Compassion banner above.
  • Dean Merrill

    Do you have any idea where that kid is today? How is he doing?