Kids these days
Plenty of commentary is available regarding this generation’s young people. It’s natural to compare their experiences to our own. It’s common to hear or participate in conversations about things that they do not appreciate enough or the amount of time they spend on their phones. I think about it almost every week at confirmation.
Honestly, though, the kids these days impress me.
Last week, students all over the country participated in many different ways to address a national conversation about gun violence in schools. Citizens who are too young to vote are often ignored in such conversations. Even when their opinions are shared, they are not always respected as valid. I am amazed at the courage and perseverance of these students. They’ve seen a problem that exists in the world, called it out as such, and demanded change.
A few weeks ago right here at St. Paul, our eight-graders learned about how they can connect to God by being activists. They practiced letting their faith guide their desire to make the world a better place for all people by writing letters to the mayor. At that age, I think I would have advocated for more fast food restaurants. These teenagers, though, were addressing real problems like homelessness, food insecurity, and immigration.
These examples show the ambition and awareness of young people today.
In the book of Matthew, the disciples are arguing about “greatness” in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus replies that they should become like a child – modest and dependent on grace. I think Jesus might use this same advice in a different context today. He would ask us to become like the children in our society – brave, justice-minded, love-guided, and loud.
I hope that we can learn from the kids these days. I’m in awe, if not a little surprised, by their hope and their insistence for a better world. Perhaps they can be frustrating, stubborn, and self-centered at times. But when it comes time to stand up for and with each other, they’ve been showing us how it is done.