Friday, August 14, 2009

What is a Teenager?

A toddler in disguise :-)

I am surrounded by scary teenagers all day, every day!!!!!!
I remember walking down from our school with my friend, Lis (also my colleague), and looking at our students from the outside. We both remarked that they were big, loud & scary, marching down the street shouting & laughing!!!!!!!!
We also laughed as we remembered that most were just like pussy cats:-)
In our classes, they were so sweet ( most of the time), and responded so well to firm & fair treatment with a big dose of humour & respect. They all need to be loved & praised - just like toddlers :-)

I have been teaching now for soooo many years, and of course now have 3 live-in ones at home who have been through every stage of teenage angst (we have gone through it too!)

This year when we go to China , I have been asked to present training to SWI staff, foster mothers & nannies on how to deal with Teenagers. It is an honour to be asked...but there are days I look at my teenagers and wonder.... " Why did they ask ME?"

They are great kids, but all teenagers have their day - they are a "Work in Progress". Of course, so are their parents?

I am so enjoying preparing the training, and as always am learning as I go. There are no experts on teenagers:-)

However this brings me to an important point.
It is tough being a Teenager today (even when you have the loving & unconditional support of your family)

Today, I am thinking of a group of teenagers who have grown up in an institution and have to go thro all the trials of teenage growth without proper love & support.
We have been given a wonderful opportunity to provide these teenagers with a loving foster family trained to support them, for them to feel in some way "like their friends" and to give them hope for the future.

What an amazing opportunity!
How sad if we lose it?

Because of the set up in this particular SWI, if we cannot find sponsors for all 30 then the programme will not work.

So, what the cost of providing this hope for a teenager?

Simply £20 a month

If we cannot find another 16 (at this time of writing), before Wednesday, then the programme will not go ahead for now & these teenagers will continue to struggle to cope with life.

If an individual, a family, a class, a Sunday School group, a Youth Club........ would like to be involved, they can raise the money, send gifts, receive photos & reports every 3 months and know that they are making a huge difference to a life.

I know many of our readers are already involved in making a differnece - but if you are just popping in, or have not considered it before, please think about it & contact me if you would like any more info.

Thanks for "listening"

Saturday, August 08, 2009

I'd walk a hundred miles........

The next time my mind has a good idea, it will need to consult with my body!! Seriously, the nearer it got to the walk of 100 miles round the roads of North Skye, the more nervous I became. I had been walking at least 10 miles a day, but was having to double this and with a back-pack.
The first day began well and I was able to attend worship in one of my former churches – it was lovely to meet the people there and feel so welcome. After church I got on my way and about 2 miles later I was in trouble – something went “pop” in my groin as I was going up a long hill. One and a half hours later I was still struggling up the hill! [a few steps forward and then a stop to allow the pain to subside]. I thought that was it, until my brain kicked in – “What if I walked backwards up the hill?” Bingo, it worked. For the next 3 days I was walking up the hills on the road backwards!!!

Having finally arrived at Dunvegan I was looked after by Donda and Norma – they were stars, who couldn’t do enough for me. The next day it was off to Sligachan – the weather and scenery was as beautiful as the day before – what a privilege to be taking in this beautiful part of the world, even if a lot of the time it was backwards! The comfort and food of the “Slig” was welcome after a long walk – so was time with Mickie who came down for a meal.
On the third day it was on to Portree – that was the only day of rain. During a heavy shower I took refuge in a road-roller – the engine was left on and I felt tempted! It was good to be with Barbara and Angie in Portree, go to Rotary and Portree Church and meet old friends.

After a good breakfast [Angie and Barbara, always give a good breakfast] it was on to Staffin. The journey to Staffin is one of the most breathtaking in Skye. First of all there is the Old Man of Storr, then the staggering views over to Wester Ross, the Kilt Rock and Staffin itself. My hosts were Allan and Joanna who made me feel very welcome and comfortable in their beautiful house. At Columba 1400 I met a party of Chinese tourists and a couple living in Glasgow and their two daughters from China – a small world!

It was now off to Uig, and again a breathtaking journey with such diverse scenery – I met a group of American tourists on the walk round to Uig and they were so interested in what we were doing at Hope4China – lovely people. Wendy was there to welcome me in Uig and it was so nice to catch up with so many of my former congregation there. I was well looked after and it was good to sit in Wendy’s lovely home, overlooking Uig Bay.

It was the final day! The short hop from Uig to Kensaleyre – back to the village that was once our home. Called in to see lots of people on the way and it was so good to connect with folks that were once such a large part of our lives. After a busy day Mickie made me a lamb curry – so good to relax with good company and know that nearly 100 miles had been completed. I even managed to drive back down the next day in time to join my son Ross and watch Partick Thistle play Stirling – and win!
A wonderful journey, though sore at times and a bit backward! The people of Skye were so generous in every way, as indeed were all the people in Dunfermline and all around the world who sponsored our charity.
To date we have raised over £6000( more since the photo was taken)
This will make our trip to China possible and enable us to meet the needs we will encounter when we get there.

Thanks is too small a word to say to all who helped in whatever way!
Xie Xie