Once upon a time, there was a young girl with a big ego and sense of entitlement. She stole from her family. She thought only of herself and consumed her time with video games and hanging out with her boyfriend. While she put on a tough act, she had little self-worth. She took no interest in her future and she never took into consideration the impacts her actions had on her family. Her lifestyle, of skipping school, partying, and drugs and alcohol, rips away her childhood innocence and thrusts her into a cycle of destructive behaviour. She was placed in a group home where she further rebelled, finding comfort in her self-fulfilling prophecy that no one cared about her. To outsiders, her relationship with her boyfriend looks unhealthy and her friends seem to be a poor influence. A girl who seems so capable with the capacity to effectively express herself but chooses to live moment to moment in anger, doesn’t realize the hurt she causes those around her. My heart fills with sadness for her destructive behaviour and unused potential. A story all too common, causing so many to look the other way, demands our attention, our compassion, and our hope.
While this story doesn’t yet have an ending, happy or sad, it’s an important story to help us evaluate and consider our role as mediators and facilitators. Often, it can be challenging to work with such rebellious and difficult youth. Sometimes, it can be easy to identify problems, but it’s not our role to prescribe solutions. Maybe all we do is ask important questions to help raise her awareness of the impacts her actions have. Maybe just planting the seed of possibility and giving her an hour to have a voice changes something, fosters a new curiosity. Maybe sessions that seem like failures still grow into success stories.