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Role model for teens

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By Tommie Kendall

While scrolling down my Facebook page last Saturday night, I came across a post from one of my friends inviting everyone to come out to Franklinton Baptist Church the following morning to hear a guest speaker talk about teen culture. Thanks to my new addiction (Facebook) and Melissa Blankenship’s post, that’s exactly where I was 12 hours later.

Hearing about teen culture interests me so I decided to give it a try. While I don’t have any teenagers running around the house yet, I will one day. Plus, my wife and I had decided to try out a few new churches around the area and she was a member at Franklinton years ago. When church started at 11 a.m. — after a hectic morning that almost prevented us from even getting out the door — we were sitting in a pew at Franklinton Baptist Church. It’s weird how things work out. Really weird.

The guest speaker was Robert Smith, who specializes in youths and, from my understanding, tries to inform adults about the culture their children are growing up in. At the end of his 20 minutes at the front of the church, I didn’t want him to stop talking. He was informative, motivational and opened up my eyes to teens today — even though I was a teen in the 1990s, times have already changed drastically. It was a sermon I wish I could replay 10 years from now when I’ll have my own teenagers to deal with. For now, I’ll enjoy them while they’re still so young and hope that transition goes smoothly.

As the sports editor for the Local, I mainly write about the two county high schools so spend a majority of my time with the teens in the community. That’s one of my favorite parts of the job. At around noon on Sunday, those high schoolers are the ones I was thinking about. I’m aware of the struggles they face daily and the decisions they’re forced to make. It’s a tough world for our youth.

I googled teens to see what would pop up and the first dozen pages were news stories full of teens that were involved in fights, robberies, arrests, deaths and other ill-fated problems that often led to prison or funerals. Most of those teenagers, as pointed out by Smith on Sunday, had no adult role models to look to for guidance. It’s a common denominator we should all be aware of. It’s one we can change.

Kids are going to mess up, but they need us there to get them back on track. We need to be the parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, teachers, coaches and friends they seek. And, more importantly, the role models they need. It’s something they cannot find in textbooks at school. I just needed Franklinton Baptist Church and Robert Smith to remind me of this.

Tommie can be reached at (502)845-2858 or sports@hclocal.com. Follow his Twitter account at www.twitter.com/hcsports.