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That’ll Leave a Mark

23 Apr Spiritual Formation | Comments Off on That’ll Leave a Mark
That’ll Leave a Mark

Not quite Normal

My two grandsons are in middle school and clearly they’re not normal.

Oh, they’re normal junior highers, just not normal, thinking people. Recently, these boys discovered they have an excuse for acting stupid. Researchers are providing evidence that the adolescent brain is not fully developed. For those of us in youth ministry, we’ve known that for years! Research provides support that the adolescent brain is still under development and maturing during the teen years.

The biggest changes occur in areas of the brain that affect self-control, decision making, emotions, and risk-taking behaviors.

Now when my grandsons are asked, “Why did you make such a poor decision?” Their response is, “Because my prefrontal cortex is not fully developed.”

Their parents have warned the boys that if they keep using that excuse they may not live long enough for their prefrontal cortex to fully develop. The boys aren’t my kids so I’m able to laugh at their actions and comments. God bless their parents!

That’ll Leave a Mark!

My grandsons’ have had many cuts and bruises. Typically, at the moment of injury they briefly scream in pain then collect themselves and proudly announce, “That’ll leave a mark.” Then they’re off. To them a scar represents a badge of honor.

Unless you’ve had overly protective parents, you know that life is hard. And, if you’ve been in ministry for very long you know that it brings its own set of difficulties. Students, parents, volunteers, board members, all can create pain and scars- even when it’s not because of your poor decisions.

Responding to Painful Bruises

What’s your response to the pain? Do you blame others? Seek revenge? Cast others in a poor light? Do you say unkind words, even when you have reason to?

My grandsons are wiser than they act. Perhaps we should be more like them, simply acknowledge that the incident will leave a mark, learn from it and move on with life. May we be living a Spirit filled life that is preparing us to respond to cuts and bruises in a godly manner.

Maybe a fully developed prefrontal cortex is over-rated.

Jerry Higley
Executive Director at Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ
Jerry Higley is the Executive Director of Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ and an adjunct faculty member at LBC teaching Student Ministry courses at both the undergrad and graduate level. When he's not at work, he loves spending time outdoors hunting and fishing with his grandkids.