She Listens

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Pregnant teenage girls and preppie teenage boys, each in their own worlds trying to make sense of it all. Jean's a teacher who listens to these disparate groups with their differing tales of woe. On the outside, these struggles appear well defined. There are the "bad" girls with their loose morals and aimless lives. While on other side are the "good" boys who grab the attention and bring glory to the school.

These are the girls that nobody notices. They are faceless and alone. Nobody bothers with them. Not much is expected from them. They are not ignored—they're never seen.

The boys get the attention. Their indiscretions are met with a wink and a nod. Heroes of the school—they come to know small-town fame. They are the hopes and the dreams of a community.

Jean knows. The pain is the same. The shame is universal. She listens. The teens tell her everything. They tell her about the drugs, the alcohol, the sex, the abuse at home, the neglect, and overbearing parents. The boys say more about these things than the girls. For the girls, it's about love. A baby they can love and the baby loves back. The teen moms want unconditional love. The boys want it too.

Jean listens. She doesn't judge or condemn. A gentle nudge for a troubled teen can affect a lifetime. They come back or call—years later they come to thank a teacher. She listens.

Sometimes a life is lost or taken. Sometimes it's prison or divorce. Jean grieves. She doesn't judge or condemn. She grieves and she listens.

A dingy classroom in a remote corner of a high school campus is also a church. Don't look for preaching, just stories and a listener. The lesson is love. It is unconditional love.

Sometimes, for Jean, the routine is agony. Administrative details prevent her reaching out to students. Sometimes the barrier is disrespect, born of familiarity, from students who don't know any better. Failure, anger, mistrust are daily demons. It wears. It takes its toll. Jean stays. She reaches out. She makes a difference.

She listens.