Monday, December 21, 2009

I Feel Really Ignored

After church, Ken met Doug, his youth leader, in an empty Sunday school-classroom. "How's it been going at home since we talked last week, Ken?" Doug began. “It's like I'm not even part of the family unless I do something Mom and Dad don't approve of - and they seem to find plenty of those things each week." Doug asked, "Have you ever said to your Mom or Dad, I'm really feeling ignored. Do you have fifteen minutes you can spend with me?" "No way," Ken answered. Doug pressed on. "But when you're hungry, you're not afraid to ask them for something to eat, right? Then why can't you express your other needs and respectfully ask your parents to meet them?"

Ken had never considered telling his parents what he really felt. Doug continued, “And how would you feel if they started to notice your positive behavior and complimented you when you did something right?" Ken gave a small laugh. "I'd feel like they were on drugs." Doug laughed, then said, "Seriously, you have emotional needs, Ken - everybody does. You tell your Mom and Dad about your physical hunger for food, and they fill that need. I believe if you tell them about your emotional hunger for attention and approval, they will try to meet those needs too, because I think they really do love you."

Ken felt a mild flash of panic. "What do you mean by 'tell them'?" "I don't know if I can do that with my parents," he said nervously. "Sure you can," Doug said, sounding rock-solid confident. "I'll even go with you if you want, after you and I have talked and prayed together about your specific needs and how they are not being met." Ken could hardly believe it. "You would really do that?" During the next forty minutes, Doug helped Ken identify three of emotional needs that were not being met at home.

When Ken's dad arrived to pick him up, Doug asked if he could stop by later in the afternoon for a visit. Mr. Meyers agreed. Ken rode home in silence, nervous but hopeful. (To be continued.)

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