High schoolers have the ability of reminding adults of the challenges that come with becoming just that: adults. I’ve always been an affirmer of children. The reality is, if I weren’t, I’d be in the wrong profession. It was Jesus who said, “Let the little children come to me.” But there is something that I don’t miss about my high school experience: drama.
I have to constantly remind myself of those emotions: How could it be that I wasn’t invited to that party? Why can’t I sit next to the cute girls in the hallway? How come so-and-so doesn’t get into trouble while texting during class?
Let’s face it –the culture of high school is dramatically evolving into a highly competitive sphere, and emerging is a social dynamic that even the most recent graduates can’t understand. Granted, my 10 year high school divorce anniversary is coming up, but a lot has changed in 10 years. First, the emergence of cell phones, then wireless internet, and now handheld devices that give you access to the entire internet. Add on top of that snap chat, twitter, and any other social platform and you can create any form of yourself you’d like to.
Emerging is a generation that skeptical, critical, and downright aggravated. (With themselves or the culture?) But I’ve begun to understand that their irritation has nothing to do with those before them or even those who will follow them, but a complete boredom.
Seriously, this generation can answer any question put in front of them by pulling a device from their pocket.
And can we blame them for boredom? Absolutely not. I would be bored too. I recall days at high school where my friends and I would spend the entire week trying to answer the simplest of questions, and today it’s a click away.
The brilliance of this generation, and the potential it carries, is the ability of longing for more. But longing for deeper questions can only be answered (from my perspective) by the deepest sense and awareness of who we are and where we come from. Start providing students with the deeper answers, and watch them come alive.
Our role as youth pastors is to draw students into a sense of belonging and understanding, pulling up from the deep well of the true answers in life: this is who I am. And though those questions are much more challenging to answer, those questions aren’t boring. In fact, those questions are extremely captivating and perplexing for students to answer, but not necessarily easy.
And these are the particular questions that Siri could never answer. There’s only one place to answer those questions. Together.
Yes, my friend, relationships are hard work.