I have just finished your book Deer Hunting with Jesus and I have to thank you for writing it. I am a teacher of students that have been failed in one form or another by our systems (I don't believe a 16-year-old can fail). And the root of all that I teach is Love and Compassion. I know that sounds like some mumbo jumbo, but being of Tibetan descent I think I have that license.
Children seek meaning, as we all do, but in them it is raw and unadulterated by the "hologram" -- or the hologram only has a slight hold on them. With kindness and gentleness they let down their guard and the gangbangers, criminals, druggies, etc., and become what they are, young people in need of something to believe in, something to work toward, and an adult that sees them as something other than a meal ticket, a burden, or something to screw.