“I've heard that every teen needs at least 6 adults
who take interest in them
and are available."
That was a post relating to the funeral of a teen who committed suicide. I thought about that – six adults. Two parents, two sets of grandparents. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, what if there aren’t two, but four or more parents and step-parents. Multiple marriages might exist for the grandparents, too. Many more adults surrounding a teen, but that’s not enough, is it?
The first key is “who take interest in them.” Not their family's activities, not the paths family has laid out for them, not ignoring them and letting their peers raise them. Take interest in them, their questions, their education, their fears and their terrors.
I was with a woman and her two sons. During the conversation about her first husband and second marriage I noticed something in her oldest boy. “You were not the reason for their divorce,” I said.
His quick glaze into my eyes, searching for the truth, told me I understood. “Yes, I was. If I hadn’t been born, he wouldn’t have been so upset over the money it took to feed me. They’d still be married.”
They come to their own conclusions by observation, overhearing adult input. Six adults who care enough to take an interest in them can make tremendous changes in a teen’s life.
Childhood is important to our Lord:
And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. (Luke 18:15-17 KJV)
The trust of a child in their parent – how beautiful and how soon it can be lost. How can trust be restored? With help from those who know of, sought for and found such trust again. As David sang:
LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. (Psalms 131:1-2 KJV)
Can we be one of the interested six? I have listened, with a bit of trepidation, to a drama-filled teen expressing dislike of life and the not-so distant attraction of death. It is not a pleasant journey and there are lots and lots of prayer involved. It can be daunting, but there is help.
There is One who is not only interested, but cared enough to die for all, teens included.
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:15-16 KJV)