Several years ago I got to know a whole bunch of lads. I was walking the streets of some English city and befriended about 15 lads. Two of them (we’ll call them John and Pete), were fighters. They were always getting in trouble and causing problems. They had been arrested numerous times and the neighbourhood hated them.
On my team were several volunteer workers including one 74 year lady. She was a natural. She just got on with young people.
After her initial training I took her out to meet the lads and they were their usual obnoxious selves and treated her appallingly. The next day as she was walking along she was approached by John and Pete who started to chat with her. After a while she invited them back to her home. Absolute madness. I wonder what they were thinking but to be honest it was probably a chance to see what they could nick.
So they arrive at her house and she says to the boys I’m doing some baking would you like to join me. They were delighted. She said she was going to make some cakes and asked what they would like to make. The instant reply was fairy cakes. And as they started baking, the volunteer worker talked to the boys. She was surprised to discover that this young man used to make fairy cakes as a child but things had broken down with mum and they no longer did anything together.
Years later, these two lads still made cakes with this wonderful volunteer.
I would like us to consider our attitudes. In the town where we live there is a lot of mumbling and groaning about young people and little dialogue with them. Now is the time to talk. Stop, take time out to say hi and find out about their lives. Don’t pre-judge the situation. You might be surprised.
You never know there might be a fairy cake maker desperate to come out. Or it might simple be someone who wants to be a child once again.