I have a confirmation class right now of two youth. They will enter 9th grade in the fall. Friday night and Saturday morning is our first mini retreat, where we will stay overnight at the church and do lessons about God.

How can I make a difference on the faith journey of these kids? I am nearly 60 years old and they are almost 15.Can I make a difference in their lives? Can I relate the goals of a faith journey to their own lives? Am I so hopelessly out of touch? Have I ever been in touch with kids who are growing up in a rural environment t? Fortunately, I am not alone on this journey with the youth. I have two adult mentors 20 and 30 years younger than me who grew up in this setting.

As I plan our retreat I think back to when I was fifteen. Wow, what a different world. Mine was influenced by the Vietnam War and featured long haired young men, anti-war protests, rock-n-roll, and the hope of a more peaceful world. I was extremely idealistic and had great hopes about changing the world some day. I wanted to “get back to the land and set my soul free” (Crosby Stills and Nash). I read western philosophers and about eastern religions. I was a seeker in every sense of the word and I believed strongly and resolutely in certain ideals.

I think that all young teens have strong feelings and ideals. The trick will be to find out their ideals and their hopes. Do they want to impact the wider world? Will their stage be local? How can God fit in? I am both honored and humbled by the challenge.

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