A few years back, I went home to Mountain Province and met some of my cousins for the first time. I think, the last time I was home, they weren’t born yet. I felt so old.
Most kids from the mountains are very shy and won’t talk to “new” people. When I arrived, they would hang around me all the time but won’t talk to me. I spent hours trying to start a conversation. But they would laugh and run away from me.
So what did I do? Since they were good at running, I taught them how to play football!
Everyday after that, they won’t stop pestering me. After school, they’d come straight home and start shouting from the yard, “ate! laro na tayo ah!” Rain or shine, we played every afternoon. Before my trip ended, they learned how to score with their feet and I learned to look into their hearts.
Many young people are so insecure about themselves – with their looks, skills, intelligence and self worth. Some have lost interest in school, some choose wrong friends, and some are clueless about their abilities.
We, adults, need to step up. These young ones need more positive influences and intentional affirmations around them. They need a team of cheerleaders who will pass them the ball and give them the confidence to run, deflect their opponents, and strike a goal.
And should they fail to score, they need a safe place to keep trying until they hit the mark – without judgement.