I miss it.
I miss hanging out with teenagers…cokes and conversation after school…playing my guitar and worshipping with kids…wrestling on the floor and shooting hoops and making up games to get kids to interact with each other.
I miss long road trips in the bus. I miss hiking in the backcountry of the High Sierras, canoeing whitewater, sitting around campfires, and going to mystery locations with young adventurers. I miss teaching kids the fine art of mixing cement in a wheelbarrow and how to navigate cross-culturally. I really miss teaching kids how to embrace their doubts, ask important questions, and fearlessly follow Jesus.
This could be an endless post. I’ll stop with the reminiscing.
Here are some things I love about teenagers (especially in the context of youth ministry):
- They are teachable.
- They are open, transparent, and most of the time, brutally honest.
- They love to have fun. To a fault.
- They are struggling to fit in and find where they belong.
- They don’t judge and condemn those who are different.
- They follow leaders.
- They are establishing their independence, but still need structure.
- They are not afraid of taking risks.
- They live out their faith from their heart and not just their heads.
- They don’t sweat the small stuff.
- The difficult commands of God don’t scare them.
- They are not afraid to call you out.
- They are resilient.
Not every kid fully reflects all those characteristics, but I’ll stand by my list as pretty accurate. But this really isn’t about youth ministry.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if this list was true of adults, also?
Too bad it’s not.