A Cry For Help

A CRY FOR HELP, FROM OUR TEENAGERS: Encouraging words to help your teenager.

Let me tell you about Mike.  Not the Football Captain, hot stuff, rich kid, most popular boy, ladies man Mike, but the real Mike. The test score on his paper screams FAILED.  Again, the knot in his chest and throat grow bigger each day he sits in class trying to figure out the words on the board, in the books.  He is suffocating, he would rather mask his struggle and be the strong popular athlete in school and enjoy the moment but the satisfaction is only temporary.  He has a Harvard dream, an astronaut dream, but how is he going to get in if he keeps getting the school nerd Patrick, to do his homework and being the class classic jerk to teachers when they ask him questions just to hide his inability.  How does he explain this thing Google says is Dyslexia?  He fears the stigma and the mocking. It grows worse each day until it opened the door for depression and anxiety.

His parents never seeing eye to eye, never around, Mr. & Mrs. Smith own Fortune 500 companies so they live and breathe business and the requisite meetings that follow. Australia today, Germany tomorrow and when around, fights and arguments are how they communicate.  His brother, hot-tempered with no patience, he’s endured years of secret bullying from him. He tries his friends, but all they see is the guy they wish to be.  He tries his principal, all he sees is his golden athlete bringing the school fame and endorsements, he would rather falsely up Mike’s grades and tell the teachers to ignore his failures so he can progress in school as their star athlete than find out why his school grades are terrible.  No one sees past the cloak, a young 16-year-old soul yearning to be rescued, wanting to be more but unable.  His signal for safety unanswered, simply ignored.

The pressure in school, at home, feeling like the weight of the world is crushing him leads him to bury himself in drugs for an alternate reality.  He needed more release, so he tried self-harm and liked it.  It gave him ease, gave him a feeling of control or so he thought. The depression grew deeper, the crave for more self-harm stronger.  Enduring years of family chaos and a secret struggle with dyslexia, the problems weighed in.  He could no longer deal, he starts to cave in. It shows in his eyes, you can tell from his posts on Twitter, from the peculiar Instagram captions, but they are all blind.  The athlete, rich kid, football captain, the most popular guy surrounded but isolated needed more release from the storm. He went the full circle with depression, slit his vein open and finally caved in. It was the most peace he had ever known.

Though the above is a fiction, it sheds light on the reality of a huge percentage of teenage life worldwide.  Young people between the ages of 12-22 suffer from psychological problems caused by society, family and inner conflict problems.  In recent years, there have been multiple cases of young people taking their lives to the surprise of family and friends. Worst still, some manifest their condition through overt acts such as violence. A classic example is the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, in the US on December 14, 2012.  Adam Lanza, a 20 year old, opened fire and shot at children in the school as well as adults, before then on his way to school that morning shot and killed his mom at home.  Before he could be apprehended, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.  There is no way a young boy of 20, will wake up one morning to commit this act, there must have been a lingering psychological problem, one that evidently his mother failed to observe and in this case, cost her, her life.
A lot of teenagers express a cry for help often times, but as parents/adults we must be attentative.

Signs of a disturbed teenager
I. Skipping classes and school: studies have shown that kids who are dealing with a challenge in school such as bullying tend to develop reluctance for attending classes and a habit for skipping school in general. This is usually the first trigger to more problems.
II. Alcohol and drug consumption: drugs and alcohol have an inhibiting effect.  High consumption of these substances affects the thinking faculty of the consumer and sometimes gives off a feeling of euphoria, release, and calmness. It, however, wears off with the drug. This is why a disturbed teenager is most likely to get addicted to taking these substances, they crave an escape from whatever reality they’re running away from.

III. Reclusion and isolation: when your once bubbly child/ward suddenly develops a quiet and reserved personality, you need to check it out! Sometimes it might just be a natural change of personality since they are still in their formative years, most times something serious is going on with them. Your daughter or son could be getting raped, molested or bullied right under your nose. Or it might be an issue of inner conflict; struggling with their sexuality, inability, body. It could be anything.

IV. Scratch and cut signs: when you start to notice stuff like this, that teenager is neck deep in problems! It could be self-inflicted, it could be inflicted by another. It doesn’t matter the story he/she gives you as reasons, these kids are good at making up stories. If they can hide their problems up to this point, don’t believe a word. Get your Sherlock Holmes on and find out what the hell is going on.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services USA, about 3 million teenagers between 12-17 suffer from major depression. More than 2 million show that the depression experienced effects and impairs their daily function.

We need to do better, as parents, siblings, friends, teachers. How? You ask. Here’s how:
I. Pay more attention: to their activities in school, their grades, their relationship with friends, and their mood. And whether you find it ridiculous or not, their social media accounts and the content they post. A CNN special report made in 2015 conducted for more than 200 13-year-olds revealed that “there is no firm line between their real and online world”. So parents, guardians, better get updated and get on Facebook, Instagram, twitter etc if you really want to monitor and observe your kids/wards.

II. Show love and understanding: when you see a teenager acting up even though they can be the most annoying little humans in the world, do not push them away! Do not punish unnecessarily, do not judge them for their shortcomings either. Show love, bring them in, cause that is the only way to figure out what’s going on and when you do that, motivate them, encourage, give inspiring stories of other people who struggled with similar situations and how they overcame. It would help them heal or deal with their problems faster.

III. Get professional help: as much as we would love to be the Jerry Springer of our kids/wards life, there are some things that can’t be handled by untrained individuals. Take the young person to a professional, they studied issues like this for a reason. Ranging from school counselors to psychiatrist. Get that young boy or girl the professional help she/he needs before it too late.

IV. When you start to notice cuts and marks on a teenager’s body, take away all self-inflicting materials and make them as inaccessible as possible. Better safe than sorry.

Encouraging Thoughts: It is not enough to say you know your child, ward, friend, sibling. Are you conscious of their battles and inner demons?

A Life Of Integrity

Integrity is a vital subject in ensuring the success of an individual; it is the virtue that must be acquired for our life to become valuable. It is a man’s greatest asset; Here are some methods on how to build Integrity.

Living a life of discipline is one way to win souls to the Kingdom of God.
When wealth is lost, something tangible is lost, but when character is lost, everything is lost – Billy Graham.
“Character should be considered as one of the greatest assets in the school of success; character will take you where ability can never Bishop Oyedepo.
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and golds Proverbs 22:1

What is Integrity?
Integrity is a state of being unimpaired, a state of sound moral principle, upright, honest and sincere. The Hebrew word for integrity is “Tom” which also means “complete or solid.”

It can also be defined as a state of completeness, wholeness, undamaged, and soundness of life. Until sincerity becomes a responsibility, it cannot become a characteristic or your identity. Job 2:3-9 “3 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God, and eschewed evil? And still, he holds fast to his faithfulness, although thou moved me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

The Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand, but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal, and he sat down among the ashes. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.” Integrity is not just an action; it is a lifestyle; it is a walk in obedience Psalms 26:1-11, Proverbs 20:7

Integrity is a deliberate act which demands determination, a valuable attribute and truthfulness

Note the list below will help you achieve a more trusted Valuable Attributes and Integrity?
• Moral standard
• Uprightness in dealing with issues
• The sincerity of the heart
• Living holy; living a dedicated life

What are the fundamentals of integrity?
1. Integrity is living within the confines of moral standard, and ethical principles that are not flexible
2. Integrity commits itself to;
a. Character over personal gain
b. People over things
c. Service, over power
d. Principle over convenience
e. Long views over the immediate (temporary pleasure)
3. Integrity is a thing of the heart and not based on credentials; it is different from reputation.
4. Godliness, which is an integral part of integrity, is not a state of “sinlessness,” but desperation to please God as a lifestyle. 1 Timothy 4:7, Acts 24: 16 “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offense toward God, and toward men.”
5. Integrity is one essential to becoming a leader 1 Kings 9:4 “And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in the integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments.”
Proverbs 11:3 “The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.”

What are the qualities of integrity?
The level of integrity of a man can be related to the following trait;
• The consistency of character Numbers 23:19
• Honest communication Matthew 5:37, 2 Corinthians 1:17
• Transparency 2 Corinthians 4:2
• Humility 1 Peter 5:5, Matthew 23:12
• Placing others before self Philippians 2:3-4
• Fulfilling Promises; as a parent, fulfilling your promises to your children is one way to earn their respect and it gives them more reason to trust you. Many parents make the mistake of uttering promises to their children without fulfilling them. It is wrong, no matter how “inconsequential” you think the promises are, fulfill them because your children are learning fast. Be their role model, let them believe in you.
• Hearty service
• Discipline 1 Corinthians 6:12, 1 Corinthians 9:25-27
• Faithfulness

How to cultivate a life of integrity
Integrity is not a gift; it is the deliberate act to stand steadfast. You cannot have it by mere wishing it; you have to cultivate it.
1. You must be dead to self Romans 8:13
2. Be a man or woman of purpose Dan 1:8
3. Keep the right company Proverbs 13:20
4. Set scriptural standards

Integrity and Conscience
Conscience is simply defined as the moral being within your human being; you cannot build integrity without having a good and pure conscience. There is a correlation between a man’s conscience and its integrity (character).
A strong character is a function of a good conscience; your conscience is your God ordained police officer. So the healthier your conscience, the brighter your destiny Genesis 39:9 “There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” Joseph lived a life of integrity, no wonder his destiny was an enviable one.
To become a person of sound dedication, you need to maintain a healthy and a sanctified conscience. Acts 24:16  “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offense toward God, and toward men.”

How to maintain a healthy conscience
1. The Word of God: you need to feed your conscience with the Word of God consistently. Psalms 119:9-11  “ Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hidden in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
2. The Spirit of God; The Spirit can help us purge every sinful trait in us according to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11  “9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicator, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor attackers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
3. The Blood of Jesus Christ Hebrews 9:14  “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

What are the benefits of Integrity?
• It earns trust, Integrity cannot be acquired but earned.
• It delivers you from trouble Dan 6:22 “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.”
• It brings peace Isaiah 32:17-18 “And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. 18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, in dwellings, and in quiet resting places
• It ensures divine favor Psalms 5:12
• It brings divine health John 5:1-8, Isaiah 38:1-5
• It empowers you for exploits Genesis 39:9, Job:1-3
• It enhances access to ever increase auction Ecclesiastes 9:8 Psalms 45:6-8
• It empowers access to revelation Psalms 25:14, Proverbs 1:23, Revelation 22:15
• It is the gateway to generational posterity Malachi 3:1-5, Psalms 112:1-3
• It guarantees boldness Proverbs 28:1, Acts 14:3

The areas of integrity?
As Christians, living a life of integrity is not subjected to the church only; we have to prove our decency in all areas of our lives including; business and relationships.
Business: Job 1:1-3 “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.”

Ministry: The credibility of a pastor in the eyes of his members and the outside community is more valuable than his preaching. 1 Samuel 9:6 “And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honorable man; all that he saith comes to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go.” Every minister must show integrity in rendering service, utterance, in being accountable, in morals, in humility. 1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in words, in conversation, in charity, spirit, faith, and purity.”
Family: family success is more important to a man of integrity than public success Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ  loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

Psalms 112:1-8 “Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man who feared the Lord, that delighted greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endures for ever. Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness: he is gracious and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man showed favor, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies.”

Leadership: as a leader with integrity, do not take advantage of the “led.” Do not be a ruler leader, but be a servant leader. Ephesians 6:8-9, 1 Peter 5:3, Psalms 78:72

How to manage prosecution in the pursuit of integrity
The pursuit of righteousness comes at a high cost and only those who are strong and willing to pay the price will be able to withstand persecution or adversity that comes with integrity.

To be honorable will attract rivalry, and envy; Jeremiah 1:11-19, 1 Samuel 17:28, Genesis 37:11, 20-21
So how do you manage the persecution?
• Consider God’s opinion, it’s the only that should matter in your life 2 Corinthians 9:18
• Whatever negative name you are called, make it a point of duty to prove them wrong.
• Do not fight back, let God avenge you. Romans 12:19
• Do not give room for bitterness, Hebrews 12:14-15
• Take heed to yourself, 1 Peter 5:8
• Do not look back, 2 Corinthians 10:12
• Practice love towards your enemies
• Don’t be afraid, Isaiah 8:9-14

This teaching will help you live a life of integrity, whenever you feel discouraged, ask for help, the Holy Spirit will guide and empower you. If you are a parent, ensure to teach your children the importance of ethical principle.