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Life without love…

street teen

It completely floored me when Ruth Ewertt of Yonge Street Mission shared that from a survey she helped conduct that “if youth felt a sense of love or belonging at home, even with physical or sexual abuse, they most likely would not run away and end up homeless.”

Everything in me tells me that I would leave an abusive situation. However, looking back I myself was excessively disciplined and I never ran away.Reflecting on this, I can’t even call it physical abuse because as much as I hated it I always knew there were good intentions somewhere underneath it all, proving Ruth’s point.

Even the times I did leave home, I would always eventually go back, because as wrong as what I felt they did to me was, I still felt that there was still something right about home. If what Ruth says is true, I’m guessing some of the kids may have been abused even less than I was, but when they ran away, they didn’t feel that they had anything to return home to.

It scares me to think that a lack of love or belonging may be the greatest form of abuse because sadly it changes my notions of a healthy home. There are many people I interact with where there have not been any reported cases of physical or sexual abuse, but this statement forces to me to change my assumptions on whether they are in a loving home. It is not enough for my family, or the families I lead to simply prevent physical or sexual abuse.

Ruth statement makes me feel like I’ve been in shock of all the wrong things. As bad as news-headlining type of abuse is, I need to be shocked by the lack of love and belonging that is being fostered in our own homes. When I reflect on how much I am loved by my own family and closest friends, street children are no different. They crave a sense of belonging and love just as much as I do, and likely more because they have received so little of it in their lives.

I am amazed at the capacity of the human heart to long for relationship even amid abuse. I am saddened that it was so difficult to come by for so many of the youth on the streets. Of all the labels I naturally place on street kids, ‘unloved’ has never been one of them. Youth at risk are not just victims, they are the undesired, the unwanted, the unloved. I use to feel that it was naive for people to think that street children are not dangerous.Now I feel it is completely naive of me to assume that they have had just as much opportunity of experiencing love as I did.

Of all the things I’ve ever wanted in my life, for the first time, I want the unwanted.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Parke February 28, 2007, 8:45 am

    Thanks for sharing this, Lon. Well-done post.

    It certainly does put a new weight on parental responsibility, doesn’t it? Last night out group was talking about the story Jesus told that’s recorded in Luke 19 about how the person who didn’t act with what they had was called “evil” or “wicked.” It seems it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that the parent who remained distant and did not express love or help develop character could be judged as evil in that sense.

    Keep up the good and personal writing, friend. We need to hear it.

  • nooc February 28, 2007, 5:23 pm

    Thought-provoking post Lon. Thank you.

    BTW I have a good friend here at church that just accepted a position with Yonge Street Mission so is moving to the TO area and she is scrambling to find a place to stay. Know anybody looking for a room mate or a boarder, etc? Drop me a line at fullygreg@yahoo.com if you have any leads. That email address couldn’t possibly get spammed more than it already is so I don’t hesitate to post it. 🙂

    nooc

  • tamar February 28, 2007, 6:38 pm

    wonderful post…

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