Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mentoring the Next Generation

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 - Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

The P & H Truck Stop in Wells River, Vermont, is famous for its maple cream pie and their broasted chicken. My family has eaten there often with friends. One Sunday after church, a group of ten of us went for lunch. Four of us in the group were middle-aged. The other six were young adults, ages 17-20.

Lunch that day still stands out in my mind because of what I witnessed in the lives of those young adults. They laughed a lot. They talked about school, teachers, music, movies and other things that are critically important to young adult happiness. They occasionally whispered to each other about things my middle-aged ears could not quite catch. A game room at the truck stop had a crane game in it. Somehow our group managed to win one stuffed animal after another from that machine. After lunch, the young adults went swimming at a local watering hole before eventually returning to our house to watch a movie.

What is so remarkable about a day like that? Many people think that young adults can only have fun if they are having wild parties that feature drugs, alcohol, and sex. I am not naive. I know that plenty of young adults engage in those activities. I know that sometimes even Christian young adults make bad choices. But that particular day as I watched that group, I was reminded that there are many Christian young adults who are trying to live a life of purity before God. The group that day had a lot of fun without all the negative influences of the world. No one in the group had to wake up the next morning and wonder where he or she had spent the night, or had to rush to the bathroom to throw up from drinking too much. It was a wonderful day with a great group of young adults, only one of many such days we celebrated with that group of young adults.

If Christians would like to see more groups of young adults make right choices, we need to offer ourselves as mentors to them. Young adults need mature Christians to offer them a safe place to laugh, a living room in a drug and alcohol free home where they can hang out, and the influence of some mature Christians who know how to be present but not overbearing. If more young people had such an environment, they would not need drugs and alcohol in their lives. They would have all the joy and happiness they needed. Those of us who are more mature must be willing to be mentors and provide safe space, thus allowing us to pass on our faith to the next generation in a natural way.

Lord, help us be the mentors in both faith and daily life that young people need. Amen.

This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:

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