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A Simple Way To Change Your World

November 23, 2010

Please forgive the shameless self promotion, but I wrote an article recently for Youth Worker Journal about how we can or should go about changing the world. It’s clearly not up for a Pulitzer, but if do take the time and like what you read please feel free to share it with someone else.

A Simple Way to Change Your World: Love and Serve Your Neighbor

For Derrick, every day at school is torture.

He walks in and heads straight to his locker without so much as a glance from anyone. As he’s getting everything he needs for his first class, no one says a word to him. Even though he is surrounded by countless students in the hallway, he doesn’t get so much as a “Hello.” The bell rings and he finds his spot in the back of the classroom where he knows he can fade away and not be forced into that awkward conversation with somebody who doesn’t know his name. He repeats this process of locker visits and hiding in his classrooms until lunch, which is for him the most glaring daily reminder of his non-existence. He doesn’t have to worry about finding a seat for lunch every day. He knows it is always going to be at the empty table. After lunch, he repeats the whole painful process until it’s finally time to escape to the sanctity of his own home.

As you know, Derrick is not the only one. The same story plays out every day in every corner of the world. This exclusion phenomenon isn’t relegated to our schools. It permeates our churches, as well.

We’ve all had the one kid who just didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the group. Every Wednesday night, he or she is the one sitting on the otherwise empty row alone. If he or she is brave enough to go on trips with us, this student is always the one left without a roommate at the hotel or a partner for kitchen duty. If we’re honest, it’s the youth with whom we most struggle to talk or interact. We all see it; and to some extent, we all have participated in the exclusion. Some of us have even been that non-existent kid ourselves.

People talk about changing the world, but I have a simple and radical question. What if in the simple act of saying “Hello,” a miracle is taking place?

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**UPDATE** – The link is now working. Sorry about that.

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