What does love look like? Time. Giving them the time of day. It doesn't take money or devices or candy. It takes Time. Time to give them a smile or a hug. Time to see them. Really see them. Watch them. How many times have we heard, "Hey watch me ______!" You fill in the blanks.
Kids want attention. They are starved for it. They want structure. They want someone to care enough about them to discipline them, set boundaries, reinforce learning, look at them, talk to them. They don't want to be someone's after-thought or intrusion. They want to be a part of someone's life. They want to fit in. They want to feel needed.
Why do we have broken kids? Because too many selfish people are giving birth, but not raising them. People who would rather send text messages than give their kid 10 minutes to tell them about their day at school. People who don't care if their kid stays up too late playing video games as long as they don't bother them. People who are too lazy to fix a meal and sit down with their kids. It doesn't have to be fancy. It might be fish sticks and macaroni and cheese or sandwiches. Kids don't care what they are eating if they are eating with someone who loves them.
I'm finally beginning to understand that the kid who loves driving me crazy, or screams, or yells at other kids is just trying to be heard. They are tired of being invisible. They want someone to see them and love them. Maybe I can't fix the brokenness, but I can love them and give them a safe, structured environment while they are with me. And, I can pray for them and their broken families.
(For more of Kim Frencken's writing and informational about her educational products, check out her blog, Chocolate For the Teacher.)