Youth of Today (and a special announcement)

At Left Hand Church, we are thrilled to announce the hiring of a youth pastor. For being a small little body, we have a lot of teenagers. These good people need good support, and we consider our responsibility as a church to provide that for them. Brittney Morrell with the assistance of our current youth volunteer, Justin Cain (thank you Justin!), will be providing youth programming every week on Saturday nights beginning March 7. We consider this an answer to our prayers!

This past long weekend my daughter and I traveled to the Pacific Northwest. As a graduating high school senior she has been accepted to a variety of colleges, but wanted to make an informed decision by visiting the area in the middle of February. She wanted to know if living in Portland or Seattle was still as important to her as it once was. She is discerning whether she’d like to live in a big city or if a smaller community might be a better fit. Decision making is always a process and I’m happy to assist where possible.

In planning our trip I did everything in my power to avoid renting a car, and I was successful. We put miles on our legs and on trains and buses with an occasional Lyft. All forms of transportation assisted her in her decision making.

We caught the train from the airport and wandered all through Portland. We took the Amtrak to Seattle and wandered all through Seattle. We took an Amtrak bus (Rail blockades shut down the train due to Indigenous pipeline protests in British Columbia) to Bellingham and wandered all through Bellingham.

Walking, walking, walking and riding helped her to find the vibe of not just the campuses, but the vibe of the larger communities.

While she has not made her choice yet, her options have narrowed, which is all an essential part of the process. No matter what she decides, our time together was precious for this pre-grieving mother.

I imagine every mother would like to know everything about their child, except, well, maybe not. Some things are better left unsaid. I know it’s my kids’ job to figure things out without my outdated advice, even though I’ll give it to them anyway.

As a Gen-Xer, I think I know, but I don’t really.

There is a great divide between the youth of today and my generation and beyond. There is an ideological, informational, and cultural chasm.

The youth are brilliant and resourced. And they don’t put up with any level of inauthenticity and dishonesty. They see right through it.
In our time wandering through four different campuses, riding a multitude of trains and buses, imbibing in the coffee shops, I observed these chasms. I was unsettled.

Our youth are faced with change unlike anything I’ve ever known. The institutions and systems I had the privilege to take for granted, our youth cannot. They know a college education probably won’t carry the heft it did for me, but it will carry a massive pricetag. They know starting a family will more than likely be a difficult path. They know the cultural and political divisions are massive, something I never had to think about.

I woke up last weekend. I woke up to their brilliance. I woke up to the way they might just save our lives. And I woke up to my responsibility to them.

As a pastor, as a mother, as a citizen and as an adult I now know more than ever that I have a job to do. I will listen. I will pay attention. I will love. And I will believe our youth.

May we grow them up and get out of the way.