YouthQuake 6.02 – turning the world upside down

by Commissioner David EdwardsThese who have turned the world upside down have come here too.

(Acts 17:6:2 NKJV)

We have all kinds of names to describe them, some not very complimentary. We worry about them. We are anxious for them. They can be both stubborn and quite rebellious. They do the most outrageous things to themselves and to each other. Some of them wear tattoos all over as well as pins and earrings in the most unlikely and unseemly places. We just don’t know what to make of them.

It sure sounds familiar, doesn’t it? What am I talking about!? Generation X, or Y, or Z. Oh, forget it! You know what I mean. That’s who. Let’s fess up. That’s the way some of us “old fogeys”(Oh! please notice that I did say “some of us”) from the age of the dinosaurs think and talk about this generation.

Read this aloud. See if it doesn’t sound familiar.

“These youngsters do not have a clue as to what life is all about, yet they want to tell us how things ought to be run. They need experience. That’s what they need. They have to learn in the school of hard knocks. They are in too great a hurry. They just can’t wait.”

And what about this?

“Some of them, they have no respect for authority. They want to be on a first name basis with people old enough to be their grandparents, much less their parents. That is another matter. Where are the parents? Too busy to discipline their own children, that’s where. They are the first to blame others when the children act up.”

It sure does sound familiar. Some of you reading this might be one of those about whom we, the old “fogeys,” have so much to say. Well! You have to admit that we are not all that way, only some of us. We all however have a genuine concern for all of you and sometimes we express those concerns in ways that can be quite hard on you. And to be honest sometimes you do ask for it. Anyhow let us put the hard feelings aside, if there are any hard feelings. I want to tell you what I think about you, truly think about you.

First of all, I think that you are the best and the brightest. You are the best thing that could ever have happened to our world. I admire you. I just wish that I was like most of you, when I was your age. Perhaps I was. I would like to think so, but being somewhat biased, I would suggest that you ask someone else who knew me.

You are bright and highly intelligent. I am amazed at your selfconfidence. You are very much at home in your world. To use your language, you seem wired and very much attuned to the speed at which information and knowledge is shared and exchanged. You are brave. You are bold. You are creative and full of imagination. You are not afraid to try new things. You enjoy being adventurous. You are willing to take risks without being reckless. What more can we expect!? After all, you are young. There is a world of opportunity out there for someone like you.

You are also concerned and committed. There is something that I have discovered about you, my young friend, that a number of people my age miss. In fact they often speak about you as though they are speaking for you. I hope that I am not making the same mistake. But I look at some of you–dressed in your baggy pants, your spiked hairstyles, your odd-looking shoes–and shudder inside. That is until I talk with you and discover that, despite what I see, you like order. You are at home with structures. You are just as confused as I am with disorder and the absence of structures that you can understand simply because they make sense.

You also understand the meaning of commitment. You want it from us, older ones, even if you have some difficulty making and keeping commitments. You like your freedom too much and that is understandable. But I notice at the same time you respect restraint and discipline. You are intelligent enough to realize that freedom without restraint could lead to a life of misery for you and for all of us.

Last of all, I believe that most of you want to make a difference. This is what I find most admirable about you, my young friend, your passionate desire to make a positive difference. Though at times some of your actions might be misguided, I believe that most of you do want to leave this world a better place. You do want people to know that you lived and that you did so to the fullest.

Now let me tell you something that might come as a surprise to you. We–that is, you and I–we might differ in age, but when it comes to making a difference, our aspirations are about the same. I, too, want to leave this world a better place. I, too, want to make a difference.

You know what? We both can–you and I. That’s why I want to see you at YOUTHQUAKE 6.02, the Territorial Youth Congress in June 2002. Come and find out how you can make a positive difference in our world. Come and bring a friend. LET’S BOTH BE THERE.

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