Encouragement, Meaning & Getting out—Lessons Learned from Ch. 2 of NEVER SETTLED

Kids, particularly teenagers need constant encouragement, even those from the best of homes. They say that it takes ten positive comments to make up for one negative remark. “Chapter 2 – Steve” was a reminder about how important the positive comments and encouragement of my friends and teachers were to me. 

My day started with waking up late for school from the previous chapter and then showing up at my friend’s house first, contemplating skipping school that day, but ultimately showing up and doing everything wrong.

I skipped class to play basketball. I wore shorts when they weren’t allowed. I lied to my teacher about where I was going. I ran my mouth to some kids and almost got into a fight. As a school counselor, these types of students frustrate & bewilder me. I tend to shake my head, just like Mrs. Admundson did to me. 

I don’t believe she (nor I) lacked caring, I just think she knew I needed some grace. 

And I did.

My friendships with Steve & Kent were based on their encouragement to me. I had a difficult past and my dad made my life miserable at times. They were my bright spots and always very encouraging to me, long before I gave them reason to be.

People like this are so important. We never know what someone else is going through. We never know how difficult life can be for someone else. Be an encourager. We all need it. 

Despite my shortcomings, I believe Mrs. Amundson believed in me. If you work with young people, be a believer like her. Believe in people who haven’t arrived yet. Because let’s be honest, none of us really have.

Steve and I were searching for meaning in our lives, but at sixteen and seventeen years of age, we were pretty clueless about what that was. I think it’s great for young people to dream about what their lives could mean. I believe it’s important to search those things out, but I also believe that comes in time with life experience.

As a man of faith, my walk with Jesus on a daily basis provides the direction for meaning in my life. What am I here for? Why do I exist? How should I spend my time? The answer to these questions come from a good book, The Bible. Even if you don’t know Jesus in the way I do, I encourage you to take a look at it. Start with the gospels. Jesus, was a great teacher (among many things) and had some great philosophy and ideas about living a meaningful life.

Lastly, I found the idea of “Getting Out” interesting as I reread chapter 2. 

First, every little town I ever lived in, people couldn’t wait to get out. They couldn’t wait to leave. I find that so interesting. I lived in nearly 80 places and almost 20 states before I graduated high school. Everyone of them had people who couldn’t wait to get out. The grass is not always greener.

I also find it interesting and ironic because while I was complaining about constantly moving and feared that my dad may move us again at an integral time in my life, I couldn’t wait to leave one day. The difference, I believe, is that I wanted to serve my full time by graduating at Byers and then getting out. I was meant to stay in Byers and it was meant to catapult me to my future.

Every place we find ourselves has meaning and purpose. Don’t just wait to get out. Use it. Learn from it. Grow. God has us in each place in life for a purpose and meaning. When it’s time, He will give you an opportunity to move on.

These were just a few lessons I learned from Chapter 2 of NEVER SETTLED. What jumped out at you? What did you learn? 

Published by Shawn D. Congleton

traveler, writer, lover of God, thinker, family dude, in no particular order

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