High Expectations

While listening to NPR yesterday afternoon, specifically All Things Considered, a story caught my attention as related to our youth. You can read a little and listen here. This story is about about the Mosaic Youth Theatre in Detroit, MI. When this group puts on a performance, it is entirely produced and put on by the youth. There are no adults hovering or controlling. The role of the adult leaders is to prepare the youth for such events. As a result, there are high expectations for the work that must be done. The kids come from all parts of Detroit, from suburbs and the inner city, but they all labor under the same demands and dreams. Many of these teens receive college scholarships in part for their participation and experience at Mosaic. This reminds me of being a part of the first Goldrush Summer Youth Conference at Perimeter Church in Atlanta as a graduated senior in 1994. Under the direction of the Youth Leadership team we put on the entire youth conference. There were a lot of behind the scenes stuff that we had little do with, but overall we were as involved as you can get. Like Mosaic and Goldrush we need to have high expectations for our youth and encourage them to take ownership of their dreams and passions. I am not talking about trying to live through our children or trying to force them into something, but looking for, inculcating, and encouraging their vocation and avocation. Too many youth are giving a free pass to waste their adolescence. Whether that be because they have too much freedom or too little. We do our youth no service when we treat them as monsters to satiated or hormones to be squashed. Creating and maintaining high expectations must always be tempered with freedom to fail and freedom to keep working towards those things that have value. There is too much that is wasted on and by youth, and we are largely to blame.

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