A Note to Students

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A Note to Students

To Students,

I remember middle school and high school pretty vividly.

I remember the awkwardness of trying to date (or even get a date).
I remember the first time my crush finally liked me back.
I remember my first heartbreak. I remember the pain. 

I remember attempting to navigate the social scene.
Who decides who or what is cool anyway?
I remember the pressure to conform. To not stand out.
Please God, anything but be singled out. 

I remember puberty being awful and wonderful all at the same time.
I remember my body growing. I remember it hurting. A lot.

I remember the longing for freedom and to be my own person.
I remember struggling to understand what being my own person even meant (took me a while to get that one sorted out).

I remember the crippling fear of not wanting to fail.
I remember the nights I cried myself to sleep and I couldn’t even tell you why (I think I have an idea now, years later).

I remember feeling like I was drowning under the weight of school papers and projects and quizzes that just never seemed to end. 
I remember the pure joy of acing a test you thought you bombed.

I remember hoping and praying somebody would come along and help me figure out the mess that was my life.
I remember feeling like everybody had their lives figured out but me. 
I remember the day when I finally learned the truth; that nobody had anything about themselves figured out and some were better at faking it.

I remember counting the days till summer vacation started. 
I remember being bored out of my mind 2 weeks into vacation.

I remember longing for my high school graduation.
I remember being confused about what came next.
I remember having a plan.
I remember the day I figured out my plan sucked.
It was the day after graduation. 

I remember adults telling me being a middle school or a high school student wasn’t that hard. 
I remember picturing in my mind what it would feel like to punch those people in the face. 
I remember thinking of how much trouble I would get in with my parents if I actually did that. 

I remember feeling like nobody would listen to me, that nobody cared.

I remember having a lack of purpose.

I remember thinking happiness was the most important thing.
I remember not having a clue as to what makes someone truly happy.
I remember the day I learned life’s not about happiness.

The list can go on and on. But what’s the point? Why reminiscence about my middle school and high school years? Why type all that up?

The point is that I hope you see that I understand. I get it. I know my own experiences and yours won’t be the same. But I have been through the ringer as the saying goes and I’ve made it through to the other side. 

As Youth and Young Adult Director here at All Souls, I’ve taken on a job to be intimately involved in helping you students grow closer to Jesus. 

And not just that, but also to navigate all those things that come up in middle school and high school.

When I took this job, I made some promises to our church, to myself, and to our God and I want you to know that those promises extend to you too. 

I promise to listen. No matter what it’s about it (silly or serious), you will always have at least one adult who will pay attention to what you have to say. 

I promise to care. Not just care about you, but also to care about what you care about.

I promise to challenge you. I’ll see who God has made you to be and I’ll do my best to help get you there. 

I promise to fight for you. To be your advocate and your voice in places where you may not have one.

I promise to show up. At sporting events, after school activities, on joyous occasions, and when life is absolutely falling apart.

I promise to point you to Jesus. In Him is everything you have ever been looking for and I won’t dare steer you elsewhere.

Let’s do this. Together. 

Tommy Belo
Youth and Young Adult Director