Today in our culture there is a definite presents of modern thinking and modern technology. We can see this presents quite clearly within the youth culture of today. Many of today’s youth are online and connected to the world in a way that their parents never were. What does this mean? Is it a sign and act of freedom, or is it more of a safe net for the people immersed in this culture? As I read in Walt’s book, he talks about youth who are immersed into this online culture, but amazingly enough it doesn’t quiet seem to be freeing and safe, it is a chance to not be alone, a chance to be listened to. With youth spending hours and hours online connected to friends that lots have never met before, we can see that this practice is not unusual and is not uncommon. You can almost see this as a cry for help, without anyone even knowing it. What happened to the social community outside of this online generation?
What can we do?
We need to be willing to take time and listen, but this often isn’t the case. “Instead, those of us who have been given the task of leading the young to the soul-satisfying bread of life and streams of living water may have unknowingly locked the bread box and shut off the water valve through the inability or unwillingness to hear the nuances of their unique world” (pg.18). If we try to talk to our students and youth without first listening to them, then as Francis Schaeffer says, “we will only be beating the air”, or there will be no impact and nothing will happen.
Having the ability to listen to this culture will not only impact the way that you view youth, but it will also give them ease for the times if difficulty that they will go through. It is at this stage of life that when youth do begin to feel and experience things that are markedly different. It is our obligation I think to listen to them and guide them through these years of confusion with a solid a biblical firm foundation, and letting them figure out what their purpose is through Christ’s eyes.
Everyone needs to be heard and understood. Walt rights that if the emerging generation can’t put their pain and feelings into words, they put them into actions – sometimes acts of violence inflicted on themselves and others. Thinking on this thought; it really paints a picture of the emerging generation today. Throughout the world we are seeing new problems of violence and aggression within this culture. “When young people cry out in pain, we cannot respond with a shaking of our heads, detachment, and silence” (pg.24). I think that it is our time to step it up a notch and begin to listen.
“The church faces a moment of unprecedented opportunity. The youth culture is calling. If we fail to listen and faithfully respond, were effectively telling them we don’t care and we have nothing to say. We hold back the good news from those who so desperately need to hear” (pg.37).