High school can be a wild four years, right? In the midst of classes and activities and friend groups, it can be hard to find your place. You might want to stand out from the crowd or you might want to blend in. Maybe you have strong opinions on a controversial subject but you’re afraid of what people will think. Maybe you want to dress differently but you’re afraid you’ll get made fun of.
One of the strangest words I ever had on a vocab test was “triskaidekaphobia,” which means fear of the number thirteen. Strange for sure, but that’s not as weird as it gets. “Linonophobia” is the fear of string; “arachibutyrophobia” is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the mouth; and most recently, linguists came up with “nomophobia” to describe the anxiety that arises from being out of cell service range, without a charged phone, or with a lost phone. The struggle is real!
February was all about the love.
In fact, it started in January. The minute Christmas decorations get restocked, stores have filled the aisles with every kind of Valentine you can imagine. The smell of chalky conversation hearts takes many of us back to our grade school Valentine’s Day parties when we constructed shoebox mail slots, held secret crushes and gorged on candy (maybe some of you are still doing that...) For some of us those are happy memories, and for others not so much.
In the fall of my senior year at Denver Lutheran High, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. My family and I were shocked, scared, and confused. Suddenly the certain future we all took for granted was full of questions, and they no longer concerned what dress I would wear to Homecoming. Instead, it was: what treatment will she need? Will it be painful? How much will it cost? What will it do to her body? How will it affect our family and her work? And scariest of all, will she make it through?
I’m going to ask a question. Instead of responding immediately, be still for a few moments and reflect on the feelings it stirs up.
Have you ever felt inadequate?
What do you feel?
What memories have been dredged up?
What kind of conversation are you having with yourself or God in this moment?
As you settle into this semester at Lutheran High, whether you’re a new freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, there are so many opportunities laid out before you like an all-you-can-eat buffet: classes, friends, clubs and activities, sports, jobs, college applications…the list goes on and on.
Most of the clubs here at LuHi welcome every student who is interested. National Honor Society (NHS) is an exception. This unique club admits students based on several important criteria, and provides them with opportunities to further develop core areas while attending Lutheran High.
The title of this article is not, “How to Avoid Anxiety” because that’s impossible this side of heaven. Anxiety disorders affect one in four youth over their lifetime, and it’s the most common disorder for youth to face in childhood and adolescence. While some of us will never have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, we all face anxious, fearful, worrying feelings at different points.
My kids and I recently watched a powerful story about baby animals in a Disney Nature film called “Growing Up Wild.” One of the babies, a monkey, lived within a troop of fifty monkeys that, by nature, heavily depend on a social class system. If a monkey is born into a good family, it gets the best food and the best chance at survival. If a monkey is in the lowest of classes, it sadly doesn’t fare well.
More than likely you know a young person who struggles with mental illness. Today, mental health problems are diagnosed more frequently than heart disease, lung disease, and cancer combined. More than twenty percent of youth ages 12-25 are now experiencing or will experience a serious mental disorder.