For those of you who may not know me, my name is Nicole. I am a nurse practitioner by trade, newly married, I absolutely love Jesus, and I am in love with YoungLives. I love encouraging others whether it be in their faith, their careers, their home lives, school, you name it. The teenage years are a prime time in youth development. Teens are finding themselves and forming their own identity. The choices they make will shape the rest of their lives. Those teens that are currently involved in YoungLives also have the responsibility of caring for another human while trying to figure out who they even are themselves. This year I have the honor of teaching parenting classes at a local high school. Last week I taught a group of 8 girls the importance of language development in their children. What I love about these classes in the intimacy of our setting. We gather around a table in a small room. On the other side of the wall their children get to run around and explore their own development under supervision of enthusiastic caregivers. There are no desks, no slides, and I am not standing up in front of a classroom. This is not your typical high school class. So, we sit down together and dive into a box of donuts. I pass around a couple of handouts and we dig in. I find that these lessons are most impactful when the girls get involved. It’s only the second class of the year so we are still learning to trust one another but these girls will soon see that I am here for them on this journey. After chewing on the importance of language development I get the girls to put it into practice.
What better way to get comfortable reading to your child than through reading to your peers? The girls look at me like I’m crazy but once they realize I’m serious they humor me. After the first one or two take their turn, the others do so with less hesitation. I’m grateful for their willingness to participate and in the end everyone seems to have enjoyed herself. Girls start firing questions related to the topic and I’m comforted to know they truly care. Next we explore the concept of baby sign language. Again, the demonstration provokes laughter but the girls seem genuinely intrigued. I love the hour I get to spend with these girls. I get the privilege of empowering them to shape themselves into the best moms for their children. If you don’t have children it’s hard to imagine the sacrifice it takes to be a mom. What I can tell you is that I have witnessed the love these young women have for their children and their willingness to do whatever it takes to provide the best for them. I am looking forward to getting to know the girls as the year progresses and seeing them next month to hear about how the lesson has impacted their lives.
Nicole Vidal, Mentor & Committee Member