“I Believe the Children Are Our Future”
While Whitney Houston might have been singing about finding the greatest love of all, I really think she was on to something. The children are the future… and in my world, the future is now. I work with junior and senior high students as a Youth Director in a large suburban church outside of Minneapolis. Some might not say the people I work with are kids, but to me, they are my kids (some of them even call me mom). In fact, I’ve heard my students called anything but kids. They’re called youth, young adults, and teenagers. They’re called Generation Y, Generation Next, Millennials, iGen (internet generation), Generation Now, Generation Me, and Generation ID (I deserve). Even worse, they’re called hooligans, punks, rebellious, emo and a host of other words implying they are an emotional, self centered and volatile bunch. Yet in contrast to what those titles imply, I believe they are so much more than a self-centered, entitled, group of young people. I wish everyone could sit and talk with a young person. It will blow away all your pre-conceived notions of what they are all about. They are asking questions today that constantly blow me away. They care more about injustices in the world than any of the above labels would imply. They see that Americans spend more money on ice cream than it would take to give the world clean drinking water and they talk about how it’s unfair and then they start talking about what they’re going to do about it. They look at the adults in their lives (and in the church) and wish that they really lived their lives in the ways that they profess to live. I will never forget a 15 year old student’s response to my question of why a speaker we’d heard was so powerful – she said “he didn’t actually say anything new, but he was so obviously living what he was talking about.” She humbled me so much. I hope that we as adults can live up to the expectations of our youth – because they are high ones indeed, but I know they are attainable by looking around at the youth in my life. I believe it is these children are our future, and I have been privileged to be present in their lives, and I look forward to the future they are showing me on a daily basis.
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