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Living in Christ As Almost Ninth Graders

Posted by Sara Bettinger on

Interview of Myles Ready & Emmett Bettinger
By Sara Bettinger

It is a gift to be reminded, daily, that there is no junior Holy Spirit. That the same Holy Spirit that lives in an adult who has followed Jesus for decades is the same Holy Spirit that lives in our Jesus-following children. The following is an interview with two of our youth, Myles Ready and Emmett Bettinger - both 8th graders at Creative Science School in Portland.
What do you enjoy about being eighth (almost 9th) graders?
We appreciate having more privileges and independence. We like that we’re learning life skills and that we’re not totally on our own learning them. We still have parents that care for us and are looking out for us but now when they’re doing something, they’ll have us do it with them so we learn. Like, “Hey, I’m going to the bank. Why don’t you come with me so you can see how to do this?” We are getting privileges, but we also still have role-models that help us figure stuff out.
What is difficult right now about being eighth (almost 9th) graders?
Being different as Jesus followers can be difficult. You get a lot of push back from people for having different ideas. Even being nice to people can be taken so many ways: some people reject it, some people mock it, some people make fun of it. It’s hard to want to be in a group of friends of people you like but having some boundaries that they maybe don’t understand. Like not swearing, telling inappropriate jokes, or being mean to people. Sometimes it seems like they’re having a lot of fun and we have to remove ourselves from it a bit. It can feel a little lonely - you feel like you can’t fully do what they’re doing but when you restrain yourself they make fun of you and you feel like you need to use self-control and not make fun of them back.
What do you appreciate or find helpful about being followers of Jesus right now?
In eighth grade it seems like a lot of people start struggling through depression and that kind of thing, but having Jesus gives us someone we can lean on and pray to. It keeps you a little more cheerful, a little more hopeful. Many people are struggling with their identity - putting their identity in their gender or other things. We have a sturdy foundation for our identity.
What would you want people to understand about being a teenager right now?
Just remember what it was like for you being a teenager and remember that there’s a lot of that same stuff - it’s just the culture and language has changed. We think adults understand the time: You have to be really careful with what you say and if you aren’t, you can end up hurting a lot of people. You have to really know the group of people you’re with and what’s ok to say or joke about and what’s not. You have to have your radar on high all the time. It’s actually difficult to be funny right now because so many people are so sensitive to so many things.
What kinds of things can your community do, say, and be that would feel encouraging or helpful for you?
Having parents and other adults who are really strong and genuine in their own faith helps those of us who are growing up find encouragement and support. Having those people be kind helps us to be kind.
How do you feel like Jesus is leaking out of you on any given day?
Being different, being kinder is one way Jesus leaks out.  Also, we feel conviction when we do something wrong. We’re just as sinful as anyone else at school, but when we do something bad, we feel conviction and we try to make it right again. Like if we say something that’s not very nice to someone, we feel bad about it and apologize. It’s different for people to receive an apology. Not many people do that.
Thank you, Myles & Emmett, for sharing with our community and daily letting Jesus leak out of you!
Matthew 5:13-16 (The Message) comes to mind:
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

May we all bring out the God-flavors and God-colors of this earth.

Myles and Emmett have been friends their whole lives and started life in Tajikistan as global partners with their families. They are currently about to finish 8th grade in Portland and will go to McDaniel High School in the fall. They both love soccer, games, time with family and close friends and good food. Myles hopes to beat his dad at ping pong soon, and Emmett is trying to decide between pursuing another cow elk or a trophy buck next hunting season.


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