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Three Things You Should Know About Compassion Adolescents

teenage behavior Our sponsor tour group received a royal Ghanian welcome when we arrived at the child development center. It was a Saturday, and overcast skies had turned bright blue. Children greeted us with drums and dancing.

Teen girls in Ghana performing a traditional dance

While I won’t soon forget that beautiful welcome, it was a series of conversations with a teenage girl that changed me that day.

Fourteen-year-old Valinda* and I were drawn to one another. She and her precious smile followed me around, and I found myself on the lookout for her throughout the day.

So I was especially troubled when one of the development center workers approached me.

“Talk some sense into this girl! She isn’t coming to the center most Saturdays. She’s in danger of being departed [3] from the program.”

My heart sank for my new friend Valinda. It was an instant wake-up call to be mindful of the older children and adolescents in our programs.

Here are three important things to remember about our adolescent beneficiaries:

Teens in Ghana enjoying lunch

Valinda and I talked and prayed together. I asked her what the consequences would be if she continued to have unexcused absences. She began to understand how she would no longer be able to have a relationship with her sponsor, whom she dearly loved.

I’m happy to report that I recently heard from our staff in Ghana that Valinda is now attending the center regularly and they no longer have any reason to depart her from the program!

A word for those of you who sponsor an older child: Do not grow weary in your encouragement! They need to hear from you now more than ever. Speak into the lives of these older children and teenagers. It could make all the difference.

What do you say to encourage your adolescent child?

*Name changed for privacy