When I was a freshmen in High School I joined the tennis team for this first time ever, we didn't have a tennis team before HS in little Delphi, IN. I played powderpuff football in the Spring and survived biology with Mr. Janowiak and his chinchilla named Chet. In summer gym we took field trips to play golf and go bowling and on the very best day we rode bikes on country roads for hours. When I was a freshmen I loved the Christian boy band Plus One and Julia Roberts movies. I couldn't wait to be a Tripper that summer at camp because I would get to go White Water Rafting with my friend Murphy and the rest of the kids in our group. My sister graduated that year and headed off to Hope. Freshmen year feels like a very long time ago.
Haley, Brooke, Haley and Haleigh are getting close to the end of their freshmen year. They're going to classes in the Freshmen Center and next year they'll finally get to move over to the Main Campus. They're in Driver's Ed and comparing the pictures on their permits. They go to Campaigners on Monday nights and when they can they show up to help at Wyld Life Club. These girls and their friends are on Instagram and Twitter and Vine. They play so many competitive sports it's not unusual for them to have practice every day of the week. They can't wait for the Taylor Swift concert on Friday and it's mainstream to be edgy.
Sometimes it feels like these girls are already so old. Part of that comes from this culture that is forcing kids to grow up quickly, asking them where they'll go to college and what they'll major in when they're only fifteen years old. Part of it is because they want to feel older and mature, they don't want to be treated like little kids anymore. Freshmen year is a crazy year for everyone--you're caught in the middle of growing up and trying to figure out who you are. Everything feels like such a huge deal, because right now it is. It's hard to see beyond where you are.
I'm thankful for nights like tonight when I get to share life with these girls. In the middle of all that they have going on I get to be a part of it and be a witness to their lives. Sometimes I get to remind them that life is so much bigger than freshmen year--things are going to turn out ok and someday you won't even remember the drama or challenges of this year. But there are also moments when I get to just be someone that says, "Yes, this totally sucks. I hate that you have to deal with this. I'm here for you." I think both are equally important. Whether you're a YL leader or not, you are speaking into the lives of the people around you. Don't miss your chance to speak the words that they need to hear.