In case this is your first time joining me on my blog, welcome. Each Wednesday, I write a post that pertains to all things “teen”. Since today is the first day of school in Charlotte, I am featuring an interview with 13 year old Dylan Taylor (that is Dylan in the picture with his mom and dad after his baptism this past Sunday!) This interview was conducted by his mom, Melissa Taylor. Enjoy!
Special Guest: Interview with 13 yr Old, Dylan Taylor
by Melissa Taylor
Dylan was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at a very early age. What I didn’t tell you was that he was also diagnosed with a coordination disorder and had severe speech issues. On top of all this, he was born with Aplaisia Cutis . Although this was no risk to his health, it was very visible on his scalp. Plastic surgery helped this not to be as noticeable, but it did leave a scar. Occasionally people have asked Dylan about it. It was enough to cause major insecurity and believe me, my husband and I had concerns. Dylan has handled it wonderfully, but it was one more obstacle he had to deal with.
When I interviewed Dylan, I asked him to be honest and pretend I wasn’t his mom. I am printing exactly what he said, not adding or taking anything from it.
As promised, here is the interview:
1. When you are explaining your disorders to your friends, how do you explain it or do you even share with your friends?
I don’t think I’ve ever shared it with my friends. Didn’t need to.
2. What would be the best advice you would give to other kids suffering from anxiety?
There’s really nothing to be afraid of or embarrassed about. If you are like me and carry other people’s burdens , it hurts yourself more than them and doesn’t help them at all. I learned that. I realized there was nothing to fear.
3. You have a scar on your head. Does that bother you?
I didn’t even know what it looked like until a kid made fun of it in school. Then I was self-conscious about it. I knew I had a scar because my mom would put sun screen on it, but it wasn’t a big deal until then. It was bad and I was a bit embarrassed.
4. Does it still bother you?
Now I don’t really care as much what people think. I don’t care about their opinion. As I began to overcome my anxiety I stopped listening to other people. I started listening to people who said good things like good friends, God, Mom, Dad, and Pastor Steven (pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC).
5. How does having a Mom and Dad that are devoted to the Lord and to each other help you in your struggle, if at all?
No one else understood, but they could help me with my problems to overcome them and work on it. I trusted my parents.
6. Do you feel like you can talk to your parents about anything?
Hmm. Not really anything, but most things. Some stuff is just personal and I tell people my own age, like my friends. Not Mom and Dad.
7. How do you feel about your family? Have they helped?
Yes. I guess Mom would always comfort me and introduce me to things with a Christian perspective. Blake (older brother) was a great role model. Hayden (older brother) showed me how people basically are. Hayley Grace (younger sister) has been a friend. Dad has been a friend, father, watched over me, and helped me.
8. What kinds of things help you to relax, and what do your parents do for you which help you de-stress the most?
Take a breather (a time out for just me). My parents comforted me and told me they weren’t disappointed in me and love me the same. I learned to ask for prayer.
9. How did it feel when you were little and afraid of things?
I was sorry for people and afraid something would happen to them. I worried about other people a lot.
10. How does it feel now?
It’s not a big deal for me now. I’m used to things now and I’ve grown out of it I guess. I learned there wasn’t anything to be afraid of. I still feel sorry for people though. I care a lot but I don’t worry as much.
11. Was there a time when it all “clicked” and you made a decision to change your thinking or reaction to life? You are a hero in overcoming trials and I want to learn from you and pass it on!
I guess around summer after 4th grade. I was embarrassed at school about crying over stuff and I realized I didn’t need to cry over the stuff. I learned to deal with my problems other ways. Instead of crying, I would talk to someone or focus on something better going on in my life.
12. How did medication help you?
It made me feel used to being relaxed and I accepted that feeling and then I was able to do it on my own. I’m not on any medication now.
13. In your opinion, what can a Sunday School teacher/leader do to keep her students motivated in their walk with God?
Encourage them to get involved serving and let them know how the Bible can help in your life. Take the verses beyond the next level, like Pastor Steven does and explain them and how they apply to modern life and how they can use them. It gives you hope.
14. Do you ever feel like God is going to use you in a really big way? I’m thinking about Moses, who was way too scared to lead, but once he trusted God, he became one of the most powerful leaders in history. Do you ever think that could be you?
I never really thought about myself as a leader until this year. I started to lead my life myself. I got involved in serving at Elevation myself and I brought my friends to come volunteer some too. I do feel like God is going to use me in a really big way.
15. What are the most effective ways you’ve found to manage anxiety?
I guess having supporting friends in addition to family to help cheer me on. Family has always helped me, but my friends made me feel like I could get over it at my age.
16. What Scriptures (if any) did you cling to?
My life verse (Proverbs 3:5-6) that my mom prayed for me and gave me when I was a baby helped me. But my brother’s life verse (Joshua 1:9) helped me too. It said to be strong and courageous. I knew I had to be brave about this stuff. And the Lord was watching over me so nothing could go wrong.
17. What do you do for fun?
Play drums. Have friends over. Swim. Serve at Elevation.
18. What advice would you give to someone who does not want to go to church any more?
Give church another chance because God gives you another chance. Don’t give up on God because God never gave up on you.
19. What did your parents do to help you overcome all of your stuff?
Took me to the doctor. Prayed for me. Got their friends to pray for me. Loved me always.
20. How did a doctor help you?
He had me talk about it and helped me understand it and what to expect. He also helped me learn about what to say to others about it.
21. Why did you ask your mom’s friends for prayer when you were scared?
That’s all I knew to do. There was nothing I could do to make it settle, so I left it to Mom, her friends, and God.
22. Did that help?
23. Who do you talk to when you are down or troubled?
My close friends. I pray about it. Depends on the problem. I’d go to my parents for big stuff.
24. How is your relationship with God now?
Pretty good. I don’t have much to ask of Him other than to keep my life how it is. I trust Him. I believe in Him.
25. How do you feel about you?
Pretty good. Around 5th grade I started making friends and that helped my self esteem. Playing drums gave me a hobby and that helped.
Today I still fear when there is something to fear, but I don’t fear harmless things. It didn’t happen quickly, but because of the people in my life, I’ve learned to trust. God is enough.
Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Dylan! If you would like to leave a comment for Dylan, just click on comments below and I will be sure to share them with him!