I was told about a 10-year-old girl who is continually cutting her wrists. Her dad is gone and has remarried and has a new family. Her mom is working long hours just to pay the bills. The girl is bullied at school. She feels abandoned and alone. She’s cutting her wrists to end her miserable life, crying out for attention.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in ages 10 to 24. And there are as many as 25 suicides attempted for each one that is completed. We need to get to people BEFORE they complete the process at any age! So how can we help?
First of all, people need some attention from the ones they’re close to. Actions speak loudest and words come in a close second. I tried to think of things a mom could say to a 10-year-old suicidal child. For people who aren’t used to talking heart to heart, it might take some real effort to come up with truly meaningful, helpful and specific things to say. Where to start?
The Lord gave me an exercise that I’m going to share. I did it this morning and it only took about 30 minutes. I found it extremely valuable and I know you will too.
STEP 1- I took a piece of paper and down the far left side I put a list of positive characteristics. These are the ones I put (you can of course add your own): brave, supportive, kind, helpful, calming, needed, good listener, go getter, flexible, focused, guiding, encouraging, assuring, organized, actively moving toward goals, perceptive, prepared, provider, guarding, resolved, succeeding, transforming, repair, simplified, uncover, understanding, competent, increasing, unafraid, resourceful, winning, improving, comforting, good example, broadening, counselor, correcting, challenging, moving, clarifying, fun, hopeful, seeker, strong.
STEP 2- Down the middle of the paper I put the name of the person I live with, my family members, relatives I’ll be seeing or hearing from this holiday season, friends and work people.
STEP 3- Starting at the top of the list of names, I took a pen and connected the name with at least two characteristics from the first list. Next to the person’s name I wrote down an incident that showed the positive characteristic. It was great.
STEP 4- I plan to keep the list with me so I can either tell the person about the exercise, or tell them in person what positive characteristics I admire in them.
I’m sure it will be well worth the effort. And by the way, I know the mom of that 10 year old has been instructed in a similar manner to be able to help her daughter. Please pray for the both of them. Thanks.
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