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When teenagers need help

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported earlier this year that one in four teenage American girls has a sexually transmitted disease. Much has been written about the importance of dealing with the problem. But at the end of the day, it's the parents and communities who will have the biggest impact on helping these young women – and young men, too.

A youth counselor who worked with troubled teens came face to face with this regularly. She often turned to the Bible for guidance and was inspired by Jesus' teaching: "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:3, 4).

Daily, the counselor challenged the evidence presented before her with what she understood to be the innate childlike purity given to each of us by God as our Creator. She understood God's creation to be pure and spiritual. It is established by God's law and sustained by it. She humbly prayed to understand how this loving law would counteract the pressures on young people to engage in sexual activity.

In a description of children from her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy spoke of them as "the spiritual thoughts and representatives of Life, Truth, and Love" (p. 582). This statement that children are representatives of God – Life, Truth, Love – raised the counselor's concept of children to a higher level. It inspired her to see them more as God sees them instead of thinking of them as vulnerable and separate from their Creator.

Her daily prayer along those lines resulted in her being able to work with the teenagers without judging or condemning them and to give practical direction about self-government and responsible choices. She was always grateful when they responded favorably to her efforts.

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