I predict that you will meet a lonely child today. I wonder if you’ll be able to detect which child it is:

–• Your neighbor’s teenager who can’t listen to her mom.
–• Your nephew who can’t figure out his role between two discouraged divorcing parents.
–• A timid child on your block who demands no attention, and gets just that.

Where’s the solution for lonely kids? It’s tucked neatly inside someone who has experienced loneliness, and has gained insight, compassion and skills for choosing a great life. Have you ever been lonely? Then you’re the solution for loneliness. Whether you’re a parent, an uncle, or a neighbor down the street, you can make a difference in a child’s life.

Combat loneliness when you decide to:

• Be a bit of delight! Every child – every human being – needs a spark of surprise now and then. Silly string or an ice cream sundae bar is fun! Deep relationships often start with a delightful connection.
• Appreciate youth. I have a mentor who is 30 years my senior. She believes it’s important to have friends who are younger than us because – as she says with a smirk – “the old friends die.” When you’re with children don’t wish for things, like patience or tact, that kids will be better at when they get older. Honestly appreciate candidness, spontaneity, and high energy.
• Be influential. Who comes to mind when you think of an adult who was influential in your childhood? Generally it’s someone who noticed you and listened to you. Let kids know what you see in them that is already great.
Most of us have more people in our lives than we have time for, but close relationships are rare. Invest in a child who needs you and cure your own loneliness.

“Loneliness is not the absence of faces. It is the absence of intimacy.” – Max Lucado