Skip to main content

Whipper Snappers...

Did you know that young people planning to begin their first year of college this year were born in 1994?

1994?

I was a freshman in high school in 1994.  I actually wore the styles that students throw "decades parties" these days to mock.  I listened to music defined as "early rap."  I watched TV shows currently on syndication on Nick at Night.

I was young in 1994.  So what does that make me now?

Working with students these past 5 years, Dan and I have both recently begun to feel our age fairly acutely. Never before has the age gap seemed more apparent than when our adventurous young group of American summer project students invited us to midnight cycling around the city and all we could think about was Anna and Peter’s early morning wake-up music. How did we so quickly become those people? You know the type… those old, boring people, who get up everyday at 6:30 and go to bed around 9, who read books for fun, who don’t know what’s playing at the movie theater, who ask you to turn down your music, who start sentences with phrases like, "10 years ago..." or "15 years ago..."   

We are those people. We're facing the reality that we're no longer as hip or as cool as we once were.

And that's ok.

The positive part of working with young people is constantly being reminded of who we used to be.  I was reflecting on a conversation we had at English club a few years ago.  Our club consists primarily of college students, but also featured a handful of recent graduates, just starting out in the working world.  Just a year out of student life, these grads were reflecting about their years at university:  "when you're a student, anything is possible! But when you begin to work, things change."  Isn't that the truth.  But what are these things that change? Is it us? Or is it the world around us? Is it the way we understand the world around us? Most likely it's all of the above. We become the doers rather than the dreamers. We find our limits. We grow up.

Growing up feels like losing heart at times. What was black and white becomes gray and muddy. What was easy becomes difficult. What was hopeful becomes impossible. And in this process we often find that we are the very ones holding ourselves back, not the world, not our situation, not the dream. This can be a difficult pill to swallow - some choose never to take it.

But then there's that ambitious group of students, ready and willing to change the world, looking to you for hope and guidance, pedaling furiously around the city all.night.long.  

What do you tell them when you yourself know better, when you've tried it already, when you just want to go home and watch a movie instead?  

You say, "let's do this!"  

But this time, you brace yourself for the fall.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Spiritual Tourism 101

Today Anna and I joined our visiting friends from Eastern Washington on a trip to Christ the Savior Cathedral downtown. Often, when we host visitors, we try to resist the temptation to tell them everything we think we know about the people and places around them. From our own experience, we've learned that one of the greatest joys of travel involves coming into contact with a new culture, new ideas, and new traditions, and learning about those things first hand from the people who live there - that is what really creates a lasting impression and connection with any new place and people. 
We've created a spiritual tourism guide for Moscow which embraces this concept based on the Field Observation Process (FOP) featuring first hand interaction with the places and traditions of Russia, all within the context of building new friendships with the people that live here. The first trip, Spiritual Tourism 101, involves two of Russia's most spiritual locations: Christ the Savior Cat…

Winter Bible Conference 2017

Peter was hunched up against the window of the high-speed train to Saint Petersburg, trying desperately to see how the train rolled along the rails when we got the message: "the health department has closed the location for the conference, please pray."
Many of the 115 students and staff from 17 cities across Russia were already en route, like us, to our annual Winter Bible Conference when this unexpected news hit. We arrived in St. Pete, shaking the softly falling snow from our luggage and hats, not fully knowing what to think or expect for this year's conference. However, while we were flying across Russia's rails, praying for help and provision, staff in St. Pete had hit the ground searching for a new location to fit our demographic and budget - not an easy task. In the end, we got our answer and miraculously nobody was lost in the shuffle.


The opening meeting emerged from non-stop logistical, physical, and relational chaos and met an audience surprisingly humble…

Neighbors

We saw him coming from about 10 yards away, uncontrolled lunges throwing him across the sidewalk, then small steps sending him stumbling into fence and icy overgrowth as we approached, breathing heavy, just having joked about the early winter and its influence on our running speed. “Careful,” I whispered, probably just as much to myself as my two companions. I’d forgotten it was a holiday weekend, or as most Russians joke, just another excuse to drink. The streets' stillness and relative emptiness seemed even more unusual than what we experience most early Saturday mornings and this guy’s drunken gait immediately pushed into my mind the Embassy’s weekend emergency message: “In the past, some rallies celebrating National Unity Day have been marred by violence, including targeting of non-ethnic Russians. In the last week, the U.S. Embassy has received two reports of American citizens being assaulted in what appear to be acts of anti-western/American sentiment.” Probably harmless, I …