Jason and I just spent the week being “Session Directors” for a program called Especially for Youth. We had 1175 youth ages 14-18 and 140 capable and energetic college-age counselors. It was an amazing experience to be with these stalwart young people who love life and are trying to live in a way that is different than many youth of their generation. They are involved in school activities, sports, drama and everything that their hometowns have to offer. They come in all shapes and sizes and colors and races. They gathered from all over the world to be together, make friends of their faith and learn how to be the best people they can be. They want to live righteously. They want to make good choices. They want to be happy as well as be a part of their schools and peer groups. EFY helps them learn how to do that.
But it does something else. It gives us, as adult leaders to learn from them. They have strong spirits. They are wise and humble and loving and happy. They have many friends who believe the same things they do and many who do not. That doesn’t matter. They know how to be positive influences without being preachy and how to have fun while making good choices.
I am grateful for the chance to spend a whole week with youth of this caliber and count myself blessed to feel of their spirits and love of life and the Lord. I kept wanting them to know, really know, that they can accomplish great things. I wanted them to know that they are loved. I wanted them to know that they have the ability to rise up and become all that they are intended to become. And in the meantime, I was grateful for the reminder that I received of how this same principle applies to me, as an adult, as well.
This week has made me think a lot about how I am going to raise my little boy to be strong and faithful and to make good choices in his life. What do you all do to make this happen for your children? How do you teach them right from wrong and to be strong in their convictions of what they know to be true? I know very well that you don’t have to be religious to teach these principles. So, whether you practice a religion or not, how do you teach your children to reach their greatest potential for good?
Thank you, amazing youth. Thank you for “the best EFY in the history of the world ever!” You have taught us well this week.