Last weekend I went to speak, skate and paint at a girls conference called Breakthrough. Let me bring you into my world and tell you something shocking a kid told me. This was the first year for this conference and since it went so amazing, it will hopefully continue every year. If you’re a girl, you need to come next year and get involved.

girl blog 1I watched as excited young girls signed up at the registration desk. I could see some of them looking around in amazement wondering what they were signed up for. Probably some of them were dropped off by their mom not really knowing what to expect. Some were running over to the photo booth and some were checking out the loud One Direction music coming from the gym. That morning a few girls came to the Keep it Real booth to check out the graffiti hats. I asked them if they had ever been to an event like this and they right away responded “No, but I’m definitely coming back next year.” I laughed thinking it was funny how we haven’t even really started the day and yet they were already planning out next year. You could see the smiles on so many faces as they were getting ready for a sweet day ahead.

 

My friend Marianne Deeks put on this event and has been planning it out for a while now. We were talking about it last summer and I asked her why she wanted to run the Breakthrough conference. Marianne said something around the lines of how she wanted young girls to know the truth about how they are valued. She’s tired of them hearing lies that they aren’t good enough.

This has never been done before in the GTA, well at least I haven’t heard or seen any event like this. A whole day was dedicated to theses couple hundred Jr high girls (ages 11-14).

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Many speakers came. We spoke truth and hope into these impressionable girls. They listened to what we had to say and they responded with an open heart. It was so cute as I watched all these young girls take notes with their little notepads. At the end of my message I gave an opportunity for kids to be real in their faith and become a Christian. A pile of them responded as they put up their hand. I was reminded of the statistic in the current Barna study that says nearly half of Americans that accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour do so before reaching the age of 13 (43%). That’s a huge percentage! If this is true, we really should focus on this age group a lot more.

 

 

 

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Near the end of the event I was standing at the back while the band played. I met tons of kids that day but there was one kid in particular that followed me around a lot. As she was sitting on the ground behind me I heard her sniffing as the music got softer. I leaned over and said “Is everything ok?” She started to cry more and as I awkwardly stood there I didn’t know what to do so I gave her a hug. I asked “Are you sure you’re ok, is there anything you want to talk about?” She then told me something that you wouldn’t expect a little kid to say. With tears now pouring down her face she expressed how she misses one of her best friends. Her good friend ended her life because others were bullying her.

I was so shocked.

What do you say in this situation? How would you respond in that moment? You don’t get trained in bible college about what to say to a kid that young about this issue.IMG_1387

I guess something she heard that day had triggered a thought to remind her of her best friend who had passed away. Some questions I have are, why is this happening? Why are 11 year olds dealing with suicidal thoughts? Why do we not discuss this more in the church? How can we break the statistic that says “Suicide is the second lead cause of death for young people?”

I don’t have all the answers but I do know this. We need to be there for our young people. When they are going through struggles we need to walk right beside them and not give up on them. We can’t ever assume that a kid is crying for no reason. We can’t sit back and watch young girls hear lies that they aren’t good enough.

I wanted to take a moment to say thank you.

  1. girl blog 2Thanks to all of the children & youth workers out there that have not given up on todays young people.
  2. Thanks to the local church for providing programs and budgets for kids to feel welcomed and part of the church.
  3. Thanks to the parents that don’t look down on their kids. Thanks for taking quality time to be with your daughters and have meaningful hangout times. Thanks for having patience when you see your kids wearing inappropriate clothes and instead of yelling at them you had a conversation with them about right decisions. Thanks to the dads that have been there for their kids since day one. You have made a huge impact on your kids even if you haven’t noticed it.

Parenting must be hard at times, I’m not sure as I don’t have kids but I would assume that it can be a handful. I want to encourage you and your family to not give up in life even when its hard. In this dark world we can find our hope in Jesus.

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