I just spent several hours observing teenagers who were hanging out at our local mall. I came to the conclusion that many teenagers in America are living in poverty.
Most of the young men I observed didn't even own a belt; there was not one among the whole group. But that wasn't the sad part -- many of them were wearing their daddy's jeans. Some of these jeans were so big and baggy that they hung low on their hips, exposing their underwear. I know some of them must have been ashamed that their daddies were short, because the jeans hardly went below their knees. They weren't even their daddies' good jeans, for most of them had holes ripped in the knees and had a dirty look to them.
It grieved me that in a modern, affluent society like America, there are people who can't afford a decent pair of jeans. I have been thinking about asking my church to start a jeans drive for the "poor kids at the mall."
I don't think this group of guys even had much to eat, because as they were walking, their heads leaned to one side as if they didn't have enough strength to keep them up. Oh, they tried. With each step, they tried to lift them up, but to no avail: they always dropped back to the side. This group of guys must be from the same family, because they all walked with their heads bobbing together in the same manner.
But that wasn't the saddest part. It was the girls they were hanging out with that disturbed me the most. I have never in all of my life seen such "poor" girls. These girls had the opposite problem of the guys -- they all had to wear their little sisters' clothes. Their jeans were about five sizes too small. I don't know how they could even put them on, let alone button them up. Their jeans barely went over their hipbones. Most of them also had on their little sisters' tops; it hardly covered their midsections. Oh, they were trying to hold their heads up with pride, but it was a sad sight to see these almost grown women wearing children's clothes. However, it was their underwear that bothered me the most. They, like the boys, because of the improper fitting of their clothes, also had their underwear exposed. I have never seen anything like it. It looked like their underwear was only held together by a single piece of string.
I know it also saddens your heart to receive this report on the condition of our American teenagers. While I go to bed every night with a closet full of clothes nearby, there are millions of "mall girls" who barely have enough material to keep it together. I think their "poorness" is why these two groups gather at the mall, the boys with their short daddies' ripped jeans, and the girls wearing their younger sisters' clothes. The mall is one place where they can find acceptance.
So, the next time you are at the mall doing your shopping and you pass by some of these poor teenagers, would you say a prayer for them?