Saturday, March 11, 2006

Attention

Last night, the local chapter of Youth for Christ had a "Game Night", at which The Wife volunteered us to chaperone. I have never seen such a collection of games of all kinds in my life. Air hockey, fooseball, three video game setups (one standard, one with a dance-pad interface and one I had never seen before that had a guitar game controller in which you have to play along with the rock stars on the screen...a wonderful idea in my book and I want one). Card tables. Board games. Poker (for chips only, of course). Hackeysack. One of those basketball-shooting things you see at carnivals. It was wonderful.

But the thing I noticed was that "Josie" was thoroughly bored when I got there and periodically thereafter...but she blossomed like a flower when The Wife or I or anyone else gave her our focused attention. We played hackeysack or cards with her and it was like magic. It turned the mope switch off and her smile brightened the whole room.

I think that's what most kids who are in trouble need more of. They need someone, preferably and adult, to just give them FOCUSED attention, and sometimes give them the idea that they're more important than going to the bar, or worrying about bills, or doing extra household chores. On my front, I've got to learn to take more time out from work (and worrying about work) to give her a little more TIME.

If, starting immediately, every kid got 3 hours of undivided attention a WEEK from the adults in their life that are most important to them, I predict we would see world peace, the cure for cancer and men walking on Mars in 10 years. Okay, maybe not, but I bet there would be an improvement.

Side note: John, the adult leader and creator of the local chapter of Youth for Christ is a remarkable man. Six kids, one stepkid, I'm guessing not a large salary, and a huge commitment to the kids in the community. Great to talk to, and has a real rapport with his members. One girl in particular (who I got the idea has a rather troubled home life and who also stayed at our house with "Josie" last night) loves him dearly. There needs to be more men and women like him around. I'm trying hard to become one. I may have just found a role model...something not only kids need, ya know.

2 Comments:

At 9:20 AM , Blogger Garrent said...

I remember seeing a discussion show on tv a couple of years ago. It had a moderator and maybe 25-30 teens. The reason I remember it is because all of them said that even though they had every type of amusement to be had, all they really wanted was time with mom and dad. Time, not more toys, was what they wanted most. Interesting, eh?

 
At 9:25 AM , Blogger Garrent said...

One more thing, I keep hearing that street gangs thrive because kids and teens need a family to belong to. If they can't get it at home, they look for it on the street. Again, time with mom and dad is what they crave, even if they don't actually say it. Did you notice that you've hit a hot button of mine? :o)

 

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