Is Shame Ever Healthy?

I work with students: middle school through college. I love it. I could not imagine applying my life's work to anything else. The goodness and idealism of teenagers serves as a constant reminder for me of the grace and redemption of God. I have grown to love my students as if they were part of my own family. I value them. Many of them inspire me and spurn me on.

Yet, serving adolescents is a costly vocation. It demands my time and patience and always tests the boundaries of my marriage and emotional health. As one who assumes responsibility in conjunction with the Parent and the Holy Spirit for the faith formation of adolescents, I am often one of the few who regularly witnesses their self-destruction, and the subsequent shame and guilt that follows their devastating decisions.