Asking the Experts: Part II

Posted: January 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

What was a particularly powerful and effective learning experience for you when you were a teen?

What about that experience is worth bringing into your world as you befriend middle and high school students today?

  1. Becky Dunlap says:

    Hal, as a youth that was struggling from a trauma the most meaningful times were when You all as counselors would listen with your hearts as I shared my hurts. I knew that you all were bearing my burdens with me and cared deeply. That truly held me up at times. To not be rushed, not be alone. That changed and at times saved my life.

    • halhamilton says:

      The ministry of presence….I thank God for the few times in my life by God’s graace I have done that well. That is certainly a continuing growth area for me. And it is one I have seen you walk out beautifully, Becky….from your junior year in high school to your home overflowing with kids! Thank you for this reminder and encouragement.

  2. Sarah D. says:

    It’s a great question. One that should be easy to answer, but I had to think about it. Frankly, my vivid memories of adolescence revolve around family trauma and relational grief. However, what shaped me for the good, sustaining and lifting me up, weren’t structures or events, but the people who affirmed and challenged and heard me. Some of them prayed for me, too. Others weren’t even believers. All of them were older, only one was more or less a peer. Most were in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s. All were precious conduits of grace.

    Good to remember.

    • halhamilton says:

      Thanks, Sarah. It is good to remember. I am convinced from the Exodus that remembering plays a huge part in our own discipleship and the discipleship of others. Yet I stop to do it too little.

      I think your picture doesn’t fit the caricature….but is closer to real life for so many. Maybe the first step in hiring a new youth pastor ought to be for the search committee to spend some time with the leadership of the church “remembering.”

  3. scottywad says:

    The selfless sacrifices my dad made for his family in setting aside his dream to be a professional firefighter.
    His drive to become one of most educated firefighters in Illinois; doing so while a volunteer firefighter.
    And his servant mentality towards others.

  4. Shelli Pleasant says:

    Honestly I cannot really remember much of the lessons. The only one I do remember is an illustration my SS teacher gave me in High School. We had a conversation at school about whether or not a person could be successful without being “religious”. I asked my SS teacher and he gave me the illustration of a car. A car was made to take us places. If it doesn’t take us places, or is used for another purpose, then we cannot say it is successful. We were made to praise God. If our lives are used for any other purpose…then how can we say we are successful? Anyway…it stuck with me. The most significant thing for me in those years was that I had a connection…something to fall back on…a group to identify with. No matter what choices I made, who I hung out with…I always had somewhere to go.

  5. Having friends but still feeling isolated (by life circumstances), having a brain popping with questions which were NOT answered in the Sunday sermons at my church . . . In addition to my parents, who poured unconditional and sacrificial love into my life from my birth to the present moment, there were definitely three, no four additional people who “anchored” me. Like walking across a rope over water while holding onto a pole, these people were the river bottom for me: they gave something for my pole to grab hold of and push off of, both at once, on my dangerous journey. Those people were my volunteer youth leader/SS teachers (husband/wife) at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Haymarket, VA–friends and teachers, I still remember the warmth of their circle and the book we studied (on dating!). And my parents’ SS teacher at Manassas Assembly of God, who taught my dizzy, doubting brain the Truths of God located in Genesis. And my youth pastor at MAG, who prayed, in front of me, by the hour, and was also the first to invite me/let me play the flute in worship. Two friends, a teacher, and a worship leader. I didn’t have trauma like Sarah and Becky (and I grieve theirs even now!), but even without trauma and with great parents, I do not know who I would be today without those two friends, teacher, and worship leader. Quite possibly I could have drowned in my doubt, and be a flutist without a Lover–oh sadness!! Thanks, Hal ~ I don’t think I have considered before how in their debt I am. Good to think about. Renews my energy for being a person “on the bottom of the river,” even getting poles jabbed into me. 🙂 And overwhelms me with gratitude.

  6. halhamilton says:

    Good imagery. Thanks for adding that to this conversation. You have been “on the bottom of the river” for so many in the last 25 years!

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