Last week, one of my staff members and I went to a game of the high school where we do Campus Life. While sitting there, two female students walked over to us and sat down. One of the girls said, “Romel, I went to a minister I know and asked him if he could help me deal with my anger issues. He did talk to me for a while. Before we ended our conversation, he suggested that I talk to you or one of your female staff since I’ll be seeing you regularly anyway. Can you help me with my anger issues?” I immediately began to see if the girl could identify the triggers to her anger. I asked her if she had a boyfriend. I asked if she had a father present in her life. She eventually said, “To be honest, boys don’t bother me too much. When I get angry and start thinking crazy thoughts, it’s usually toward females. There have been girls that I have wished I could kill.” Right when I thought I was getting closer to the root of this girl’s anger, her mother walked over to us and sat down also.
Wednesday, a boy in middle school chose to brag to me about how many guys he has made to be afraid of him. “I’m the man on the streets. I take what I want. I don’t steal. I take!” This led to a conversation about the difference between stealing and taking. “Stealing is when you get something that belongs to somebody else without them knowing it. Taking is when the person knows and can maybe even see you, but you walk away with what you want from them. Since we’ve been standing here talking, I’ve thought about taking those Jordans from you” he admitted. Once I made it abundantly clear that he didn’t scare me at all, I attempted to get to the root cause of why this young man feels the need to be so hard. I asked, “Since taking is okay, how do you think your father would feel if you took something from someone and they decided to take your life?” The boy responded, “My mother is my father. I met my father a long time ago, but I wouldn’t know him if he was standing right in front of me. If I ever meet him again, I’m going to take his life.” “Bingo,” I thought. The absenteeism of his father is a sore spot for him. That’s the root of his behavioral issues. After talking a few minutes longer, the boy said, “You’re pretty cool man. I’m coming to Campus Life tomorrow. Can we start hanging out sometime?” I told him yes and gave him my cell phone number.
These two incidents have highlighted this one truth in my mind.
It’s Deeper Than What You See!
Even the girl who was flipped out of her seat by a police officer in a South Carolina high school classroom had some underlying issues that caused her to be defiant. For one, she is in foster care. Studies show that students who are in foster care are at a higher risk of having behavioral issues. Although it is not the administration’s, teacher’s, or officer’s job to be her counselor and every student should be obedient, understanding the root of her misconduct could have caused them to approach her differently and the incident may not have escalated to the point that it did. This generation can and will be saved if we stop judging them for their fruit and learn to deal with the root.
Romel Gibson is a youth and college pastor, mentor, community leader, motivational speaker, musician, and songwriter living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He serves as a full- time Campus Life Director with Youth for Christ, one of the largest non-profit youth evangelism ministries in the world. As a songwriter, his most notable works include L. Spenser Smith and Testament (Greater, Surgery), Tonya Baker (Miracles), The Anointed Pace Sisters (Praise and Worship), Myron Butler (Changed), Marvin Sapp (Never), Ruben Studdard (Holding On To You Lord), and Johnny Gill (Black Box).Romel has been married for 12 years to his college best friend Quanedra. Together they have been blessed with three beautiful daughters; Allayna Pilar, Moriah Kelis, and Rylee Addison.