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Trevor Geren

Trevor Geren works at Southside Christian Youth Ministry

Interview by Mara Baldwin, May 2014

To me, peace is a sort of freedom that you experience in yourself that allows you to see past your own insecurities; it allows you to see past your own anger and allows you to see past a lot of things that can hinder us from interacting with somebody in some healthy kind of way. In a broader sense it’s the ability to see past yourself to see someone else. It stems from allowing God into your life, and from there on it spreads. It’s brought about by bringing down the walls of people. Each person has a different way of interpreting life, and when you bring a bunch of different groups together, you get this culture that has a lot of joy, which is an expression of peace.

My work through Southside Christian Youth Ministries connects to the way that I perceive peace, because my job is essentially teaching these kids that they are children of God and that God loves them. Left to our own devices, we often default to thoughts of shame and insecurity, and that can be how we grow in our development. My job is to teach these kids that God loves them right where they’re at and totally values who they are, and that he’s even the one that put the blueprints together to make them who they are. I work to give these kids the confidence that they don’t need to get this love from other people in order to move forward, but that that love already exists in their heart, and that love comes from a loving God. This is especially true if they’re not receiving it from somewhere else. And what they are not experiencing themselves is this peace in knowing that they’re already loved. So, once a kid understands that, then they can see past the negativity, and that peace can spread.

The biggest thing that people need to do in the community to help foster peace is to be there to reinforce how kids can be allowed to let their guard down. Adults, leaders, mentors need to help kids know that they are allowed to be kids. It’s important to be a good listener to these kids, and to be willing to invest in the kids by affirming them in who they are and really just building up that confidence to where they can walk tall. A heart of peace is a heart of confidence and empathy, because you aren’t so dependent on other things to bring you happiness or fulfillment.

I think it’s something that can totally be applied to a national level. However, we are human, and when we get into times where things are really good all the time, we start to think of it as our own strength. So I don’t believe that global peace is totally possible in this broken world. But the individual person is just as important as the global vision, because that global goal starts with the person right in front of you. Each of these kids has so much to offer the world, to change it for the better. It all stems from God, and goes from individual to peers, to eventually the wider community.