The good our young adults and teenagers accomplish is rarely reported on by the national, state, and local media. It can be so discouraging. Collectively, they’re a wonderful generation concerned with people. Of course, as with our generations, that’s not true of everyone, but as a whole they care. They do more than care.
For example, did you hear how much 40,000 college-age youth contributed at the Passion Conference over New Year’s? They were challenged to contribute toward the building of a hospital in war-torn Syria. $995,128!! This came from “poor” college students!
I can almost guarantee you that they didn’t give to build a hospital. They gave to the people who don’t have medical care. See the difference? This generation is people-centered.
We need to understand that this generation wants their “caring” to show up. To do something. Make a difference. Change things. Matter. Solve problems.
And, they also want our caring to show up with action. They’re not satisfied with platitudes, genuine statements of concern, and just prayers. They can get angry when we don’t seem to know or care about the people involved with the crisis we’re talking about. Youth have told me they wish people in their church would stop just praying for something and “do something.”
We need to listen to young people. They’re intuitive, creative, and solution-focused. Ask the ones you know what people they’re concerned about and what problems they’d like to solve. Ask them for their ideas and don’t dismiss them. Not quickly. Not later. Listen longer. Tell them you’re available to help them think and research. Ask if they’d like to talk with people, observe somewhere, find a mentor, volunteer, travel, …. Don’t force yourself on them, but let them know you’re there for them.
The two following examples are profound. That’s my opinion. See if you agree. Have your teens and young adults read about these entrepreneur inventors. Let these people inspire yours!
Veronika Scott invented a coat for homeless people that becomes a sleeping bag and just a bag when it’s not in use. Brilliant! Her non-profit is based in Detroit. She now employs formerly homeless people and pays them a living wage. In fact, her mission focuses on them and not the product.
Doniece Sandoval is another person who observed a people group with compassion and chose to do something even though it had never been done before. Because of one woman’s tears and frustrations she overheard, she started a non-profit that turns busses into mobile showers for homeless people in San Francisco. (She hopes to expand.) I love what she says on her site about “radical hospitality.” If you take the time to read the mission statement, you’ll see that her company is about restoring dignity, not just helping people be clean.
For our younger generation, it’s about the people. We’d be wise to remember that.
Okay, I must add … don’t just read this and respond “interesting.” Do something! 🙂