My latest article just went live over at Simply Youth Ministry. It’s actually the first in a three part series that will trickle out over the next couple months. It’s something I’ve wanted to write about for a while simply because of my own experiences with ministering to teens facing trials and convictions, as well as being on the other side of the issue with family members who have found themselves facing the judge. Anyway, here’s the intro … you can click through to read the rest and leave a comment so I know what you think!
It probably happens more often than you realize. A student you are connected to is arrested for some offense—or multiple offenses—and faces a court appearance. The odds are, they and their family are trying to keep it quiet. Maybe you hear through the grapevine, maybe they actually tell you. Either way, it’s time to be assertive. Don’t wait to be asked, instead offer, repeatedly if needed, to be present, to come to the trial, to write a letter to the judge asking for leniency, to help in any way they need. If they weren’t the ones to tell you directly, let them know you heard about it and want to be available in any or all those ways.
For the student and their family, this is a months long process of fearful waiting interspersed with moments of terrifying court appearances. They will have meetings with lawyers who paint hopeful outcomes and worst possible scenarios. It literally consumes all their thoughts and will keep them awake at night. There is shame, embarrassment, anxiety, anger—a whole mix of emotions boiling throughout the entire family, not just the student being charged. And for the most part, during this time when they most desperately need others, they are probably going it alone. Read the rest here.