In her new book, “Blessed Youth: Breaking the Silence About Mental Health with Children & Teens,” Sara Griffith Lund offers all of us real tangible things we can do to help our “Blessed Youth.” There’s something for everybody here, so pay attention!


  • Help youth develop positive relationships with caring adults outside the home. This is where faith families come in. Even though parents want to be the only ones to meet every need of their children, they can’t. When youth develop trusting & meaningful relationships with other adults, “it gives them a better chance at trusting the world, at knowing some of its goodness, at believing they are worth something, at knowing they matter.”

One thing families of faith can do is invite church members to think of themselves as mentors to youth. Even casual conversations that happen on a Sunday morning can begin to plant the seed of trust in a young person or child.

  • Help youth play the soundtrack, “I am loved.” We all need to hear the words, “I love you,” but especially youth and kids. Be sure to tell them they are loved no matter what and that such love is not based on grades, victories, or starring roles in the school play. Sometimes youth and children can become very hard to love. But we must! And we must be sure to tell them that we love them! We need to tell them that we love them no matter what, and always. Here’s a good quote to use: “I love you, and there is nothing you could ever do to change that.” This is the most important thing we could ever say to them.

One thing faith families can do is to share messages of unconditional love throughout the congregation: “You are loved no matter what.” 

  • Help youth expand their worldview. Kids normally think the world revolves around them. And today’s culture, including churches unfortunately, encourages youth to be self-absorbed and to only present their best self to the world. Adults can help them understand that reality extends far beyond them and their circle of social media influence. Our youth need to be stretched beyond their bubble.

One thing faith families can do is support diversity initiatives in the community and promote dialogue on important topics from differing points of view.  

  • Help our youth hope for the future. Youth and children need to be taught that the worst things in life are never the last things. Sometimes life hurts, relationships break up, jobs are lost, loved ones die, and sometimes the money is not there. They also need to know that adults don’t always have the answers and we can’t fix everything, or even make some things better. But … we can be present. We can walk with them through awful times and eventually experience the good and true thing that waits on the other side.

One thing faith families can do is to encourage our congregation to be “peddlers of hope,” inviting other families and youth to join together to spread the hope. No agenda. No church. No strings attached.         

  • Help our youth find time to act like children. Sometimes it’s hard for youth to still enjoy being young and childish. We can help by creating opportunities for play, laughs, messiness, screw-ups, and … fun! Hep then hold on to, and develop, the imagination and wonder of life itself. And by the way, play is always good for mental health, no matter what the age.

One thing a family of faith can do is figure out how to use the church grounds and facility for fun activities for the community. Also, especially for children, play is the most important part of their day. Let the kids and youth be “the boss” of playtime!

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Continued blessings on your spiritual walk …. Peace be with you,

Pastor Bob <><