Hey, I’m just a kid!
I didn’t ask for this responsibility and I don’t even know how to handle it! “Regular” teenagers don’t have to do this! My cousins who are stateside don’t have to take on these kinds of adult responsibilities! I’m not the one who chose to be in the military, you did… and now you’re expecting me to do what?!? I’m not prepared for this.
Do you ever feel this way? One of your parents is on deployment and you have to be the “other” adult in the family. Your parent’s rank makes them and others expect more from you than from your peers. You have to move at the drop of a hat and handle it like an adult, when really, you just want to throw a fit along with your younger brother! He can kick and scream, but not you; you have to be the example. It’s not fair, but you don’t have a choice. You’re overwhelmed, and you don’t know how to handle it.
I sat on the edge of our concrete patio. It was a hot day, but the little boy beside me was shivering uncontrollably. His t-shirt and shorts were soaked and his skinny little legs were a mottled blue above his tiny cowboy boots. I was 10 years old, he was 6. That beautiful summer day that had just been filled with laughter and teasing was now filled with an eerie silence as the far away whine of sirens drew nearer.
The morning had started with my mom, my 5 siblings and me doing chores. The boys were weeding the garden and we girls were hanging out laundry. Our back yard overlooked our horse pasture, with a far fringe of trees in the background. Three boys came around the side of the house. Scottie was my age and his two friends were younger. They ran up to my younger brother and asked if he could go fishing with them at the gravel pit back behind the trees at the edge of our property. He asked my mom, even though he knew the answer would be, “Not until your chores are done.”
The three boys ran down the lane and we all went back to our chores. About 30 minutes later we heard the littlest boy screaming at the top of his lungs and running as fast as those little cowboy boots would carry him.
We all ran to him. They had found an old door down by the gravel pit and thought they would use it as a raft for the day of fishing. They got on, but as they used their hands to paddle, it started to tip and the boy’s brother fell off into the deep water. Scottie grabbed him by the hair, but he sank and they could not find him.
My mom yelled at me to stay with the little boy and watch him. Everyone else ran down to the gravel pit. I looked over at this tiny little boy. I had no idea what to do. What do you say? We just sat there. As I look back now, I think, why didn’t I get a blanket and wrap him in it? Why didn’t I put my arm around him and comfort him? But I was 10 and I was in no way prepared to handle this situation. It was beyond my reasoning and beyond my maturity. By default, I was placed into an adult situation that I had no skills to handle. All I could do was sit, petrified, staring straight ahead.
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations far beyond our maturity level or skill sets. We do not choose to be in this situation. We end up there by default. Whether it is having to step into the role of a missing parent, having to take on huge responsibilities when a parent is injured, or one of many other situations, it is easy for us to become overwhelmed and not know how to handle things.
In our Bible story today, we read about a boy who becomes king at eight years old. Talk about responsibility beyond his maturity level! As you read Josiah’s story, notice the times he had to make a choice. Think about what you were like at his age and how you might have responded to the situations he found himself in. Maybe what’s going on in your life feels a lot like this.. Does it seem fair? Do you agree with the choices he made?
Scripture: 2 Kings 22:1-2; 23:1-3
- How do you imagine Josiah felt when he was told he was king and responsible for the whole kingdom? Do you ever feel that way?
- Did Josiah come into his job knowing exactly what to do in every situation? Do you ever feel like people expect you always to know what to do and never to make mistakes?
- As you read Josiah’s story, what are some wise choices he made?
- What are some of the promises God makes to you as you face situations you don’t know how to handle?
- How does it make you feel to read in 1 John that God has great confidence in you that you can defeat the Evil One and that you are strong?
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Dear Jesus, I am sometimes overwhelmed everything going on in my life. It sometimes seems like people or just life want me to have superpowers. There is just so much going on! I know that you are there and I am trying to trust that you are working your will in my life. Thank you for your promise to give me wisdom throughout all this stuff. I want to follow Josiah’s example and make wise choices, even when it is hard. Please, help me to do that. Give me your courage and peace every day. Amen.