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Don’t rush to judge teens

There have been several letters lately concerning teen-agers. While I don’t disagree with them, I would like to speak from another point of view.

I go to Juvenile Hall every week just to talk one-on-one with any of the youths who will talk to me. I just want to encourage them and let them know that someone cares about them. I hear stories from them that would break your heart, if you have one. They tell me of abuse, both physical and emotional, from parents or stepparents. They tell me about sexual abuse and rape by family and friends. Others have no family and no one that really cares. One young man told me that when he gets out of “juvie,” he will be homeless and living on the streets. I sometimes come away sad and depressed, near the point of tears. With backgrounds like that, how can we expect anything but rebellion and lawlessness? Peer pressure leads them into drugs where they find that their troubles disappear momentarily, so they soon become addicted.

These youths make decisions and they sometimes have to accept the punishment the law requires, but doesn’t any loving father love his children even when he disciplines them? They may not be our biological children, but what does it matter?



I realize that these youths can make up sad stories in order to get sympathy, but what in their background causes them to want sympathy? However, it makes no difference to me whether it is true or not – I still care about them.

So let’s not rush to judgment. Let’s just offer them a little of God’s loving grace.




Reg Titus

Nevada City


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