How I Became A Pothead

I went from attending a private Christian school to a public middle school in the 8th grade.

Suddenly I was the “new kid” at school.

I didn’t already have friends at my new school—I didn’t know people there (yet).

Soon, some pot-smoking skateboarders welcomed me, included me, and wanted me to be part of their group.

I wasn’t a big pot-smoker at that time.

I did have a skateboard, but I wasn’t very good…

I couldn’t even ollie (a fundamental trick in skateboarding).

They welcomed me anyway.

And since I wasn’t being welcomed by other groups, these guys became my friends.

Yup, that’s the simple explanation of how I became a pothead.

I was welcomed.

Being welcomed has a powerful impact on us. So does being rejected.

The church was never meant to be an exclusive club—keeping insiders in and outsiders out.

The church is to be a hospital for sinners, a place where prodigals are welcomed home with open arms.

Here’s what Jesus said: “Whoever receives and accepts and welcomes one little child like this for My sake and in My name receives and accepts and welcomes Me.”  —Matthew 18.5

In this regard, I hope the church is more like the pot-smoking skateboarders at my middle school than some of the other groups.


HOW ABOUT YOU: Where have you experienced being “welcomed anyway?”



I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

3 Comments to How I Became A Pothead

  1. I’ve experienced being “welcomed anyway” pretty much everywhere..

    Yeah, come to think of it.. With the exception of maybe 1 or 2 places of employment, I’ve been welcomed. And those were only because of the negativity I felt from certain coworkers.

    The only times that I can think of being unwelcomed, or “welcomed with conditions” was at churches.

  2. Danielle P.

    I am trying to imagine what you must have been experiencing as an 8th grade boy, going from private Christian school into public school for the first time. Talk about a huge change!! Did other kids at your new school not show an interest in being your friend? And did you ever feel guilty about joining a group of friends who smoked pot? Just curious, because I’m imagining that pot was considered to be absolutely unacceptable at your previous school. And I’m imagining that if the issue was ever brought up at the private school, they used scare tactics & shame to keep the kids away from it. (just a guess). But it sounds like you didn’t have a negative experience since you found yourself being accepted & befriended. I’ve had experiences when I became close with someone who I’d been told was worthless, dangerous, a waste of time. But then once I got to know them, I found out that the rumors I’d heard about them weren’t true at all. They were just people like me. Even most potheads I’ve known, weren’t the type of bad/lazy/irresponsible people they were portrayed to be. They were caring, interesting, active, and any other thing that a person could be- it just so happened that they liked to smoke pot, so they got the typical ‘stoner’ label.

    • I wasn’t a particularly good kid at Christian school either – so it wasn’t like I was shocked by all the bad stuff in public school (we had just as much in private school – maybe even more per capita at such a small school). The shock for me was more about not knowing anyone, not having a place to fit in. I had attended the private school for a number of years and everyone there knew me. I had a place in the social ladder. But stepping in to a brand new environment – a big one comparatively – I was all disoriented and needed friends to latch on to immediately. Smoking pot and pretending I could skateboard was a small price of admission to what I really needed: acceptance.

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