Latter-day Saint Life

One Crucial (& Simple) Thing You Can Do to Help Teens Feel Like They Belong in Your Ward


"When the youth know that adults in their ward actually care about them, something marvelous happens. They rise to your expectations. They begin to sense their part in the whole picture and even improve their behavior."

There they are, clustered in the hallway. The girls are wearing floor-length chevron-print skirts, and the boys are in another cluster, ties unevenly knotted around their throats. They’re all texting.

“Hi there, Sister Jones,” you say to one of the young women. She looks up and smiles, then goes back to her phone. “Good morning, Brother Smith,” you say to a boy. And you continue on to class. Nice group of kids, you think. Growing up fast.

And it’s true. Before you know it they’ll be off to missions, college, and marriages. At least you hope they will. You’re pretty sure their leaders and parents are doing their part.

But what’s your part? Well, I did say hello.

Let me tell you about two teenagers I recently learned about. Their single mother moved with them from a very small, rural area to a larger town. And the biggest adjustment the teens had to make was to realize that adults in this new, larger ward, never greeted them by name. The teenagers felt invisible.

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