Over the past few weeks i’ve had the chance to talk with leaders and youth about what they see as potentially happening between the generations currently. In particular, the question that we asked ourselves was are youth motivated to be active in extracurricular activities such as a church youth group? Why or why not?
When thinking about this question I decided that I think the culture has shifted from a culture of a community helping raise up an individual being to a community of individuals. Do you feel like you have a major support system that helps guide you? or do you feel like you have a support system that pushes you to make your own mark on the world?
In either case I feel that the answer is as follows. Everyone is motivated especially youth and young adults to make their own mark on the world even if that means just being who we are. However, we do not always have that freedom. One of the few places that I know such freedom exists is when I’ve attended a summer camp where you are encouraged to spend the time that you have in whatever way you find enjoyable as long as it is safe, respectful of others, and fits the philosophy/theology of the camp.
Why not everywhere? I believe that we are able to take the mission from these summer camps and incorporate it into our daily lives to build a loving and caring community that supports individuals in their pursuits so that they can be as successful as they can. Of course this is a two way street where you give some and you can ask for some. In the end it is up to us as individuals to make the choice to develop a culture that is about supporting and assisting each other.
Unconditional love and unconditional positive regard are a great start to building this framework. The key word there is unconditional. We can experience negative opinions about others but the goal should be to in the end realize their imperfections, our imperfections, and reconcile them through caring for each other.
At the heart of it – this is what counselors work to develop so that they can help others professionally. However, I believe that if everyone developed the ability to have unconditional positive regard and unconditional love the world would be able to function in a loving and supporting manner. This is a hard task that can take some of us years to work towards but in my personal opinion it can help enrich all of our lives.
P.s.- I have not posted in awhile due to some major changes that have been taking place in my life. However, I have been involved in some awesome youth ministry and wrapped up my first complete year of graduate school for mental health counseling.