We’ve been taught to not judge a book by its cover…
But there’s something to be said about a person’s chapters as well.
The other day, I found an old book of mine at my dad’s house. It was in my old closet, collecting dust, and probably wondering why I had abandoned it so many years ago.
After dusting it off, I was reminded of the day I first brought it home.
I can remember reading the back cover and thinking how awesome it was going to be!
As a teen (and this says a lot) I couldn’t wait to turn off my computer, just so I could give it my full attention 📖
My intentions were good…
Yet, a quarter of the way through, I was met by a chapter that left me unconvinced of the book’s potential.
Even with over 7 chapters remaining, I decided it was no longer worth my time and attention…
Today, I’m an adult who works very closely with youth.
And because of that, I’m constantly reminded of the early chapters of MY LIFE story 📖
My first few pages were bright. Without blemish. Characters were supportive and my arc showed nothing but promise.
Before long, my pages became dark. Scary. Friends turned to villains, and my journey came to a screeching halt.
I was 16 years old.
Nearly 15 years ago.
Thinking back, this was one of the darkest chapters of my life:
Drugs in my pocket, pain in my chest, and a belief which told me that I had no future.
Unfortunately, many of those reading my story had by that time concluded that I was a lost cause.
And who knows. Maybe without the support of caring adults, I would’ve been.
Nevertheless, I wasn’t the only one who had it WRONG when it came to my story.
Looking back at my early chapters I would’ve NEVER imagined the turn-around my life would eventually take.
After all, how could I?
We’re not actual books. Our future chapters are not at the end of our fingertips.
To me, that’s all the more reason we shouldn’t try to predict them based on our present pages, or even a few bad chapters.
I’d say these two things are vital when it comes to the youth that we serve:
1) We must help foster a belief in them which says, “My current struggles do not disqualify me from a bright and successful future.”
2) We must be careful that we too don’t fall into the trap of considering someone as a lost cause. I’ll admit that sometimes it’s difficult to stay positive. After all, some cases are more unique and challenging than others…
Nevertheless, we give them the optimal chance of success when we choose to see and believe in the best for them. 🙏