by Alex Hardt, Associate Pastor – Youth and Young Adults
I’ve heard it said that a parent’s checkbook and calendar are clear indicators of their parenting priorities. Go ahead and conduct an informal audit of both. -Walt Mueller (cpyu.org)
- 19% of full-time students earn a bachelor’s degree in four years – NYTimes.com
- 36% of full-time students complete there bachelor’s degree on time – NYTimes.com
- 30% of high school students fail to graduate on time – psychcentral.com
- 38% of seniors in high school drank alcohol last month – recoveryvillage.com
- 35% of seniors in high School smoked marijuana – recoveryvillage.com
- 8% of kids are homeless
- 47,000 youth incarcerated on any given night in the United States – data.burnsinstitute.org
Our students face an increasingly stacked deck as they come closer to adulthood. Students are facing challenges of drugs, media, alcohol, stress, pressures, figuring out right from wrong, graduating, jobs, future, and so much more. Many of our youth, as they approach adulthood, feel like they are unprepared for what is ahead. A poll by the UK Health Foundation found that less than 1 in 5 young people felt they were given the necessary tools to succeed. They feel overwhelmed by the decisions that lie ahead particularly when it comes to securing a strong financial future. The rate of drop out from college is high, and the delay in getting a degree because of over crowded classes, uncertainty in the job market, change in degrees, or other circumstances has led to a $1.5 trillion debt crisis according to Forbes.com.
In entering adulthood more than half of young adults surveyed by the UK’s Health Foundation say they lack the basic ‘building blocks of life’.
“The Health Foundation in the UK has identified four fundamental ‘building blocks of life’ that help young people to achieve success in adulthood. Armed with these, the Foundation reasons, a young person is well-equipped to navigate the adult world. These building blocks are:
- Emotional support in the form of parents, friends, and mentors
- Having the appropriate skills and education to pursue a career
- Personal connections and networking opportunities
- Financial and practical support”
- – Katherine Martinko
STACKED IN THEIR FAVOR
These statistics may sound a bit depressing at times but there is hope in all of this as well. Parents, positive adults, and mentors were one of the key elements identified in the UK Health Foundation study as something that could positively determine the success of a youth. Basically, youth need adults! Sounds a bit obvious… And yes, youth may push against adults, rebel at times, and try to resist the teachings by adults, but they actually long for positive attention from adults. Youth need adults who are willing to invest in them and teach them right from wrong. They need adults who set boundaries, give them guidance, and help them learn about who God created them to be. Youth need adults to teach them how to balance a checkbook, do laundry, cook a meal, read the Bible, and be righteous men and women of God. As a body of believers, we have an opportunity to affect those within our community. We can look at youth and say “Why don’t you have it all together?” OR we can walk alongside them and show them the way.
Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble.
This last month I loved how so many of the adults within Covenant Grove stepped up to impact the youth within our community. Within one week we had over 12 adults serving at a Middle School event called Amazing Race and 8 adults (plus all the adult leaders from other churches) serving at a High School event called Stacked Youth Night. Each week adults volunteer to help in Kids Ministry, Youth Ministry, and Young Adult Ministry. Wahoo! I love the heart of our volunteers and their desire to impress the word of God upon our kids and youth. Thank you to all those who have committed to helping our kids and youth grow into adults. I also celebrate the other adults who are making an impact on our kids and youth. Thank you to those who help out from time to time, thank you to those who help out with events, thank you to those who drive our kids and youth, thank you to those who give words of encouragement to our kids and youth, thank you to those who pray for our kids and youth.
Each one of us can make an impact on the lives of young people… Each of us has a choice… Each of us can choose to let the odds stack against the youth or be stacked in favor of them.
WHICH WAY WILL YOU LET THE STACK TO FALL?
If all you have is little, share it. If all you have is time, spend it. If all you have is water, offer it. Nowhere is it written that making an impact is limited to extravagance. Instead we can make a difference by giving of our time, talent, and treasure so it’s not so much what you’ve got, it’s how you use what you’ve got.
– Author Unknown