Posted: 12 December 2012

Actually seeing young people

I listened as a friend recalled an 'incident' as a 16-year-old. She was invited to participate in an important meeting and arrived at reception, waiting to be escorted to the appropriate room.  

After a while, someone entered the reception area, looked around and walked out. This happened three more times and my friend was worried she may miss the meeting altogether. She double-checked the details of venue and time, and was definitely in the right place.

Then the same person appeared again, paused and looked at my friend. Yes, you’ve guessed it: They were looking for her all along! Why didn’t they simply enquire the first time? Well, she was not what they were expecting -- a young, articulate black woman, most confusingly with a European-sounding name.

Are you the One we’ve been expecting, or are we still waiting? (Luke 7: 18 – 19)

We all know that preconceptions, stereotypes and unhealthy assumptions are hard to abandon. Even John the Baptist questioned whether Jesus was ‘the One’ they had been waiting for, because in many respects He didn’t look the part.

In adult eyes, many young people sporting tattoos, or wearing hoodies and saggin’ trousers (hanging low enough to reveal underwear) can look suspect. However, we cannot afford to forget that God continues to empower youth who may not look the part today, to simply play their part.

By Cham Kaur-Mann

We work with children who are marginalised because of their ethnicity or culture, such as young people from Gypsy, Roma and travelling families.

Through our policy work and direct practice we promote these children’s rights, ensuring they are treated as young people first and foremost, and that they have access to culturally sensitive education and health services, as well as a secure, stable and appropriate place to live with their families. Learn more about this work.


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By Rev Cham Kaur-Mann - Guest bloggers

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