I just got back last night from a junior high retreat with the youth group at my church. It was a really great weekend, and I really enjoyed getting to know the junior highers more. Relating to junior highers is way different than senior highers. In senior high, kids are more set in who they are. I'm closer to that age, so I can really be open with them and give advice that they can understand and relate to. With junior high, the kids are so innocent. I know they aren't as innocent as I like to pretend, but they haven't experienced a lot of things that really define a person.
I had a lot of conversations this weekend with the girls about the boys they like, and it was really sweet to hear the one girl get excited about hugging the guy she just recently started dating. Cole and Jozay started dating on Thursday night after youth group. Sam called Cole and asked him out for Jozay, and he said that Jozay needed to call herself because if they couldn't talk directly, things just wouldn't work out. So Jozay called, with Sam still on the line, and they had a three-way phone conversation that resulted in Jozay and Cole getting together.
Junior high is a really cool age because people are so innocent. I mean how simple of a fact is it that if Jozay can't talk to Cole directly, things won't work out, but it is one of those simple truths that we sometimes forget when we're older. With their fresh minds, they know these things so Cole makes sure that he and Jozay are able to actually talk. What would be the point of dating if you aren't actually going to talk to the person? Now that we're older, things just seem so much more complicated. Granted, there is a lot more stuff to communicate when we're talking about a person we want to spend our lives with or whatever. But sometimes we can't really communicate how we feel to that person. Did we forget how you have to be able to communicate to make a relationship work?
The girls were telling me lots of stories about a missions trip they had all gone on. They had a lot of fun stories like how one girl wouldn't get up off the floor, so another girl sat on her. I feel like it is this kind of conversations that really make you closer to a person because you are seeing their personality. I know it isn't that deep, but those stories are the day-in and day-out occurrences that made that person smile. With stories like that, you could never run out of things to talk about.
In fact, I was just thinking about how my roommate Joy and I have conversations about silly, little things like when you know you're expecting your period, so you're hyper sensitive all the time, thinking that you just got it. Sorry that's kind of gross, but it made me smile when I thought about that conversation because it was just so random and trivial, but it made me feel close to Joy.
There's something about the innocence of a junior higher that strikes me because I love those little stories, and I love getting excited about hugging a boy. That's actually why I told Sam it is okay if she changes her mind about who she likes. If she likes one guy on Friday and changes her mind to like another boy on Saturday, that's okay. They have a lot to learn, that's for sure. But to see the way that Cole can know that if you're dating someone, you need to be able to communicate... well, as simple as it sounds, it's so true. He's going to grow and build on that, and it's cool to see that he has a solid foundation to build on.
That's what impacting junior highers is all about because junior high is the foundation. I know we tend to remember our middle school experience as something we wouldn't want to do again, and we were so silly chasing after boys all the time and whatever... but that innocence that they have is something to be treasured. I really value the opportunity to be a person that the kids can look up to and trust because as much as I can impact them, they are impacting me in ways that no other experience can do. God is really working at PBIC, and it just makes me so excited sometimes that I want to roll around in a field of wildflowers or sing at the top of my lungs so that everyone could hear how amazing God is!