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Saying grace: Columnist offers guidance for teens in tough times
BY HEATHER ABLONDI
Did you hear about what happened to Whitney Kropp, a Michigan high school sophomore last week? Whitney was thrilled when she heard her named called over the high school loudspeaker as a member of the homecoming court.
Her excitement was short-lived when she was informed by a classmate that it was all a cruel prank. She had been nominated just so that the “cool kids” could boo and jeer at her as she took her place among the court.
Unlike other recent stories of high school bullying, this one has a fairy-tale happy ending. One that includes a Facebook fan page with over 120,000 “likes,” a dress, a makeover and an escort onto the field by the two most important men in her life—her father and grandfather.
Whitney’s story caused me to reminisce about my own teenage years. Many of us can probably relate to what happened to Whitney, even if it is to a lesser degree. While I can not say that I was bullied, I definitely did not fit in with my peers and was picked on because of it.
I really do wish that I knew then what I know now. So I decided to write a letter to my teenage-self in the hopes that it might help someone else who feels like they don’t fit in with the crowd.
Dear Teenage Heather, As you sit there in your harem pants listening to your New Kids on the Block tapes, there are a few things I would like you to hear. It is OK to be different from everyone else. You were created by God to be just who you are.
Jeremiah 1:5 says that before you were born the Lord set you apart; before He formed you in the womb He knew you.
You are beautiful not because of what you look like on the outside, but because of who you are on the inside. Nothing about you is a mistake. You are exactly who you were meant to be. Embrace your individuality as a gift from above and never be ashamed of your uniqueness.
What you are going through right now is preparing you to have a heart for the poor and disadvantaged. Look for ways to help those around you—even those who are different.
Philippians 2:4 tells us that we are not to look to our own interests, but rather to the interests of others. You will find great satisfaction and meaning in life by helping those who are not able to do anything for you in return.
All that stuff that you are learning in church—pay attention to it. You may think right now that it is for old people who really do not know what they are talking about, but there is wisdom there that will guide you to make wise decisions throughout your life.
In Proverbs 3:1-2 we read, “Do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.”
Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up! I know you think that being an adult will solve all of your problems, but you really have no idea how good you have it right now. I mean, you have no bills, no job, you get to sleep in on weekends and talk on the phone with your friends until the wee hours of the morning.
Furthermore, the Bible says that as a Christian we are to come to Jesus like a little child (Mark 10:13-16). It is your childlike innocence that will make you strong in your faith as an adult. Be careful not to think that you know everything or have all the answers. Scripture teaches that the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God (1 Corinthians 2:14-15).
I know that you are hearing this and probably rolling your eyes, because really, what do adults know, right? But now that I am on the other side, I can tell you that they really do know what they are talking about (Proverbs 15:5). Well, most of the time.
Heather Ablondi is a women’s ministry speaker and author who resides in Fredericksburg. Contact her at heatherablondi .com.