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(Dedicated to Alex who turns 16 on Saturday)

If only they knew how hard it is for me. I am turning 16, the world I now can see. My friends have begun to change right before my eyes, and now they just laugh and tell all kinds of lies. They hang around in small groups and use language that just isn't right. Somehow I feel rejected because I don't conform to them. Those who try to step to their own beat and be individuals do NOT fit in. I have watched so many fade away, with drugs and alcohol. Alcohol seems to be an option for everyone at my school; an option to facing reality. I lose friends to booze and to drugs, but I will not be fooled. And sex, it seems so normal and open for everyone to just go ahead and explore. Three girls who were in school just last year are not back this time.

If only I could make a difference, but what could I say? What could I do? Maybe, I could go to school and try to do my best. I mean what harm could there be in passing classes? I will make the golf team and basketball team. And I will get into that club, yeah, the one that goes on those neat trips. Hey, I might even try out for the play. I can memorize pretty well, and mom always said I was a pretty good little actor when it came to blaming my brother or sister for things. I will do all those things and that will make a difference. I will not give in to their ways, their pressures, their socalled answers to life. They don't have a chance with me. I will simply ignore them and their problems. I don't care about...

Wait, what about their problems? What about those people who are falling away? What will they do? The ones who are giving in and giving up? I "do" care! I have to care! Yes, that's it! That's where I will make a difference. Before I graduate I want to touch them one by one. Before it is too late, I've got to teach them something. I want to make a difference. I mean, I AM a Christian. I'm supposed to want to teach them. Now, what was that verse? John 14:6 where Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. " That's the message they need. I have a way out, a way to overcome the "downs" in life. Okay, some will not listen, some will not care, but if I can help just one, then I will have succeeded.

Besides, God promised in Matthew 28:20 that if I teach others, He will always be with me. So I can help make a difference. I believe I can help them completely change "their" way of life into "the" way of life; the only way possible. I must help make the difference. Because, if I don't do it, who will?

For His Cause,
Daddy (Tim Woodward)