The Voice of our Youth

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”— 1 Timothy 4:12.

Our young people are taking our country by storm.

I had the privilege of going to the March for Our Lives rally in my city on Saturday. I was there to sketch and listen and observe. I was amazed by the 20,000 people present at our state’s capitol and as I wove my way around people with signs and placards and poster boards, I was proud of our kids. As I listened to heart-wrenching speeches and a demand for action, I was proud of our kids.

A few days have passed and I have seen and read about the many marches around our country and the world, where kids ventured from their homes, neighborhoods, schools, sports, and activities, to march in hot and cool (or quite cold) weather, to stand with the sun beating down on them or the cold winds ripping through them to take a stand.

Whether you agree with their views or not, you have to admit, they’ve got guts. They are rising up, claiming their voice in democracy, and going out on a limb, which is more than many adults are doing.

And there in continues my admiration of young people. I have worked with teenagers in ministry for much of my adult life, and have some myself. They are amazing, resourceful, creative, innovative, and deserve to be heard. Vulnerable and daring, hesitant and bold, they impact their world in ways we could only dream about.

Though the media and news reveal nay-sayers and adults who are ripping them apart for their views and heart-felt speeches, many adults still stand speechless at their courage and tenacity. Let’s face it: These are our future leaders. These are the people who will be creating policy for us. These are the people who will be leading our country some day. And these are the people who will be changing your diapers and my diapers in our old age some day….

I like the words of Paul to Timothy. He had a tough job, ministering to a church, probably surrounded by nay-sayers and older adults who thought he was “wet behind the ears”, inexperienced, and didn’t do things “the way it has always been done.” He may have been perceived as a threat to older established folks, who liked their way of doing things. Who didn’t want their ways taken away. But Paul encouraged him to go forth and do God’s work anyway. Despite obstacles. Despite what people thought.

It reminds me of what we face now. Kids can make us adults uncomfortable. And that is what I love about our youth. They are trying things in new ways, surging forward, attempting to change their world in new ways. We can either fight them or listen to them. Or come along beside them. How might they impact your way of thinking today?

Prayer– “Gracious God, you said “and a little child shall lead them.” Help us to be open to the voice of our youth, because we know that you use all people for Your good, pleasing, and perfect will. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

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