By: Jake Rogers
One of the most rewarding things for me is when I can help bring clarity to a situation and connect the dots, with God making the connections. Micha said he wants to meditate and pray on the word, “decisions” throughout 2019, even though it doesn’t feel like it’s a new year. He came in feeling discouraged because he has goals for 2019, but can’t work on them until he gets out. He felt that 2018 was a complete waste, and he achieved nothing. How discouraging!
I spent the next hour asking strategic questions. First I asked him to define wisdom. He described wisdom as, “learned from experiences, not easily acquired, and something that sticks with you for a long time”. Then we looked at the difference between his second week in JDC and now. He said his mindset grew and described his attitude as being selfish and self-centered, when he first got locked up.
Today he is listening, maturing, taking responsibility, and seeing how his actions affect others, not just himself. So, I asked one more question, “Doesn’t that sound a lot like gaining wisdom? It was learned over time, not easily acquired, but learned through much pain and difficulty, and I hope it will stick with you for a long time, too.” There was a long pause, then his face lit up. “Wow! I never thought about that before.”
His goals for 2019 included: priorities, placing needs before wants, thinking more about the consequences before acting; using time wisely; and doing what he needs to do before it’s too late. I went back through each of these, asking, “How would you work on that if you were out?” Then, for each goal I asked, “What’s one way you’ve worked on that the past few months, while here in JDC?” He needed some help identifying some of these, but a couple more questions helped him to connect those dots too.
He couldn’t believe it. He thought there was no way to work on these goals inside JDC. He never saw this clearly before. So, my last question was, “If you said wisdom is gained through experiences, not easily acquired, and will stick with you for a long time, did you just gain even more wisdom today?”
It’s after conversations like this that I walk out of the Juvenile Detention Center thanking God, for the opportunity to serve, for God’s joy that fills me, for calling me to this incredible job, and blessing me with the life I’ve been given, even for the difficulties and pains of my past. So, I ask the Lord, “Why do you love me this much?”
Now, I have a few questions for you. Do you recognize the problems in our city? Do you have high hopes for the youth in our community? Do you watch the news? Are you tired of the violence, the drugs, the crimes, and the abuse? In the last 10 years, have you seen youth crimes and their needs getting better or worse?
OK. I know your answer. So, allow me to ask a few more questions. Do you want to see change? Do you care? Was there anyone in your teenage life who cared about you, who mentored you, or who showed you how to live a healthy and productive life? Do you believe it could make a difference in the lives of high-risk youth? Do you believe the long-term commitment from a positive, caring, Christian mentor, walking alongside a high-risk young person could have a life-changing impact on them? Could this help keep them from running the streets, away from criminal activity, to finish school, perhaps encourage serving in our community? Okay. So, what are you waiting for? Will you help me reach my goal to provide every young person leaving the Detention Center with the opportunity to have a positive mentor to walk alongside them?
Together, we can transform Rockford – life by life.
YFC leaders serve as positive role-models, mentors, life-coaches, and friends to youth in our youth. They walk alongside, earn the right to speak into their lives, and support these young men and women, as they learn to make their own choices each step of the way.
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JJM@StatelineYFC.org | (815) 399-7203 |1288 S Alpine Rd. Rockford, IL 61108