Monday, February 2, 2015
"I Was A Teenager Once, Too"
Sunday was a grand day as our youth led the worship services. They never cease to amaze me how talented, wonderful, and caring they are. Many of them I have known since they were infants. I understand what Louis Armstrong meant when he sang in that raspy voice, “I see babies cry and I watch them go, they’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know, and I say to myself, what a wonderful world.”
It is not only wonderful, but much different than the world I knew as a youth. Mine was the age before computers, YouTube, Skype, email, texting, FaceTime, Instagram, and all the rest. It was a time when most moms were stay at home moms. Most families only had one television, and in the evenings you watched shows together as a family. If you wanted to change the channel, you had to get up and turn the dial.
Times have changed and young people face new challenges. Today, many grow up in single parent families. We don’t say it often enough, but God bless all of our families, and that includes single parent families. Parenthood in any shape is never an easy road.
I remember the old Dick Van Dyke television show, where Rob and Mary had to sleep in separate beds. Times have changed. We don’t have to look far to see that we have created a sex-saturated society for our youth with sexual overtones in everything from music to videos to advertising.
Today’s youth might never have heard of an air raid drill in school, but they all know what a “lockdown” means. They face more pressures than most of us ever imagined. Looking back it seems our biggest worries were acne and getting a date for the prom. My how things change.
One of the reasons I love our young people leading worship is that you get a wonderful glimpse into just how bright, caring, and talented they really are, and how they are filled with so many hopes and dreams. As Dr. Seuss said, “Oh the places they will go.”
While everything has changed, some things never change. Like each of us, our youth long for three things in life. They want to be accepted for who they are, and not who everyone tries to tell them to become. They long for a sense of belonging. No one likes to be left out, overlooked, or made to feel alone. And last, they yearn for someone who cares for them and loves them unconditionally.
When you come to think about it, isn’t that what a church and a great youth ministry are all about? We are a place where every young person feels accepted, knows that they belong, and experiences Christ’s unconditional love. Isn’t that what we all hope to find in a life?