Faith Focus: Remembering the young

Elspeth Jackman

Elspeth Jackman - Credit: Archant

Do we believe that wishes come true, or is that just a child’s concept?

Today I want to focus not on Covid-19 but on some children’s wishes written down. Looking through all the stuff I keep – how will I ever manage to downsize – I found a collection of balloon shapes in different coloured paper that I had distributed to a class in a local secondary school, many years ago.

I was working with the St Albans and Harpenden Christian Education Project (Step) team who tackle all sorts of ‘God questions’ with young people.

After a lesson on God fulfilling our needs, I had encouraged these students from Year 7 to write down anonymously what they really wished for.

And even today, I am moved by them. Here are just a few of their answers:

“I wish I felt wanted by more than my family.” “I wish people didn’t pick on me all the time.” “I wish I could be really good at something.” “I wish my mum and dad would stop quarrelling.” “I wish I was normal” and “I wish I could belong somewhere.”

I didn’t read them out at the time. This was about seven or eight years ago, and the young people may not even remember writing them,

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But today I still hurt on their behalf.

Harpenden poet Andy Smith wrote a very apt poem in his book ‘Mysteries and Conundrums.’ Here are just a few lines from it:

Two homes,

Two tones of voice.

Two smells

One smells fatty, the other sweet.

One house untidy, one house neat.

But neither me, nor my brother

Belong to one house of the other…

and it ends…

I felt a fool at school last week,

because I didn’t bring my work to class

And couldn’t say

Where home had been one day

To know where I should look

To find my stupid homework book.

In this trying time, let’s remember the mental well-being of the young, by more loving understanding towards them and praying to God for them, as He really does care.

Elspeth Jackman, writer, broadcaster and piano teacher, is an active Christian locally.