Sunday, May 23, 2010
The Rising Generation
This week I was reminded of the power and strength of the rising generation. This topic has been rolling around in my head a lot lately, ever since April's General Conference, when I was struck by how much concern the leaders of the church showed for the youth. So many of the talks focused on how we can strengthen the youth of the church and prepare for the future.
The talks made me consider what I can do to contribute. I don't have my own kids (especially teenagers--yikes), but I do regularly see about 200 who come in and out of my classroom. Sometimes, as I stand in the hallway between class periods watching kids scream and run around, I worry about these kids. I know they face so many pressures, deal with so many problems, and are trying so hard to find their way through life. I wonder who they have to rely on, what belief systems they hold, and where they get the strength to make good decisions. As the school year winds down, I find myself reluctant to let them go. I imagine where they will be in ten years, and I hope they will be alright. I know most of them will turn out just fine, but I hope they don't suffer too much heartache along the way. Mostly, I try remember that each is a child of God who could use a little love. That's been my goal lately...to show a little more compassion and to nag a little bit less.
The second thing that has made me recently realize the strength of the rising generation is my association with a handful of teenage girls through a program called Generation S (the S stands for service). Several times a month, I go out with these girls to volunteer in the community. This week, we went to This is the Place State Park and laid stone walkways (really hard work, by the way). As I worked and talked with my cute girls, I was amazed by them. Sure they're hyper, loud, and sometimes quite silly. But they are also strong. They know who they are and have righteous desires. On the way home, they were talking about how they want to go on a humanitarian excursion for their senior trip. I was humbled that these girls would choose to spend their time and money helping others, rather than going on a cruise or somewhere else exotic. I had to admit, I hadn't thought of that at their age.
While I sometimes think I am the mentor, I am finding that I have much to learn from this rising generation.