This past Friday I tuned into 20/20 and was completely devastated by what I was seeing. The story was on homeless youth in America. They followed four different teens in their journey on the streets. One kid was given $50.00 and a bus pass to San Francisco. He was told that he would be visiting some family members. His mom gave him an address where to find them. When he arrived in San Francisco he soon realized that the address was to a McDonalds to get food. This was just an ordinary kid, he did nothing to deserve this at such a young age and now he is living on the streets trying to survive on his own. How can this happen? How are people capable of this? This was just one of countless stories from these kids. The sorrow on their faces brought me to tears. Their families, their parents had failed them. As I continued to watch these kids and how they try so hard to survive I was brought to tears. I guess I don't want to believe that this happens in America. When I hear about these things I always believe that these kids will be put in a government assisted program and they will at least have their basic needs met. But this isn't always the case. Teens are falling through the cracks every. single. day. If you want to watch the story you can go HERE.
I learned from watching the show that nearly 2 million teens in America are homeless. According to a social worker on the show, the teens don't have the normal "homeless" look. This is why you wouldn't suspect them. They are not pushing around shopping carts and living under bridges. They typically will move from house to house, friend to friend, and many times will do anything it takes to keep a roof over their heads. They may go to school or they might decide to quite. No one is watching out for them and no one even notices. One girl was living with an older man that she didn't even know, but he gave her a place to sleep and food. What kind of life is this for a 15 year old girl? As I watched this I just cried and cried. I wanted to tell her that she is worth so much more than that. Her life, her body, her heart. She is so much more than this, why does no one tell her that? Why does no one care for her and give her the love and respect that every human being deserves? Even as I write I am brought to tears just thinking about these teens who live a life of fear, not knowing where they will sleep, what they will eat, and how they will make it another day. This just devastates me. How can this happen? How?
I titled this post "Parenting" because I am more and more convinced that 95% of the worlds problems could be solved if parents were doing a better job. I truly believe that it all starts in the home. We have got to grow and disciple better parents. Look what is happening to our world, look at the local news, heck, look at the kids at your schools. These kids/teens are being betrayed by their own families which leads them to act out, to seek attention any where they can get it, anger, hostility, low self esteem, poor self image, risky behavior, assault, murder, drugs....and on and on the chain of destruction goes until we are sitting here fighting wars against the sex trade, pornography, drug wars, gang violence....you get the picture. This cycle of hate, selfishness, neglect goes on and on unless someone can break in and stop it.
WE HAVE TO INVEST IN OUR KIDS. That's it. Plain and simple. But what about those 2 million? Love, Love, Love. The world is desperately seeking LOVE. They seek it in any way they can get it, risking everything. We are the human race, it binds us all. We can't turn one of our own away because they were not born into our family. They need me and they need you. We ALL deserve love and respect no matter which family, religion, ethnicity we are born into.
Luckily their is always hope. The cycle can be broken. Just look at this girl, Dakota. She was taken in when she was a teenager by a friends family and she has survived and thrived and is now in college. Just a normal family. That is all she wanted.
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And HOPE does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
If you want to learn more about this topic or how to be a part of the solution go HERE.