What do you want to be when you grow up? That's probably one of the most asked questions in all of humanity. Where do babies come from, why can't I do whatever I want, and what do you want to be when you grow up....probably three of the top ten. When I was in first grade, I said I wanted to be a lawyer. My reasoning was simply that I liked to argue. I mean, shouldn't that be enough? Fondness for argument = lawyer...or at least that's what my first grade brain told me.
I'm now 21, graduating college, and I still don't know exactly what I want to do with my life. Now, I know the basics: I need to work, I would like to make enough money to feed myself and those dependent on me, and I would probably enjoy doing something that helps other people. I need interaction with the public, and I need a job that is constantly requiring me to do new things. Other than that, I'm not sure.
Right now, I say I hope to be a family physician. For the past year and a half, that's what's been my motivation for finishing this part of my life called college--the desire to go to medical school. The crummy thing about this is that I have absolutely no idea if this wish will come true. I would love to be certain about this, but well, I'm not. Things must happen and it's going to take time. The thing I have discovered (and it took me a while to realize this), is that I will still have friends and family if I do not get accepted. I will still be Shana B., and life will still go on. So, that was a nice thing to realize....that sometimes, failure is okay. You learn, move on, and kick more tail.
Now that I'm older, I get to ask those younger than me the question of what they want to become as an adult. I hear lots of fun things: professional baseball player, doctor, lawyer (because, of course, they like to argue), and maybe even teacher. Last Monday, while leading a small group on Courage, I asked my girls what they wanted to be when they grew up. The girls ranged from 7th to 12th grade students, and they gave the typical responses one might expect. (One girl said she wanted to be a doctor...more specifically, a female doctor, you know, a gonorrheaologist---I almost peed my pants). Anyway, it was all going great until one girl said she wanted to be a stripper. I kind of chuckled and told her to stop playing, and tell me for real what she wanted to be. She said she was telling the truth. Apparently, this was a well known fact in her circle, because all the other girls around knodded and said she wasn't lying. The girl explained to me that her aunt was a stripper and the girl had also explained to her father that this was what she wanted to do. Oh, but when she told him she changed stripper to exotic dancer so it would sound better. Maybe she fooled him....but probaly not.
Anyway, I'm not bashing strippers or anyone who does this to pay the rent. That's not where this is going. However, I will say this. It broke my heart to hear a 13 year old, sweet, beautiful girl say her goal in life was to one day take off her clothes for money. I mean seriously, I think something is wrong with that picture.
How have we gotten to the point that for the junior high girls sitting around her that day, this was no big deal....nothing new. It hurt me real bad...and I don't even know where....but I know it hurt.
What will it take to stop this?
How can we help these kids realize they can break the vicious cycle and do whatever they want to do?
How do we motivate them?
More importantly, how can we motivate ourselves to show enough love so that Jesus shines through, things fall into place, lives are changed, and the rest doesn't even matter?
What can we do?