From the Editor's Notebook (May-June 1971)

MIF 3:3 (May-June 1971)


W. Ross Rainey

On March 5th I attended an adult seminar on teen dynamics, sponsored by Detroit’s “Voice of Christian Youth.” The keynote address entitled, “What Are Our Teenagers Trying to Say?”, was delivered by Mr. James H. Smith, Youth for Christ Int., Wichita, Kansas. Time and again Mr. Smith underscored the fact that the youth of our day have something to say to us, and the gist of what they are trying to say is this:

    1. We’ve had lots of good advice, but bad example.

    2. We will dare to be honest about our morals (i.e., we do publicly what you do privately).

    3. We are not IBM cards; we are human beings. Therefore, please do not fold, mutilate, spindle, staple, or punch holes in us.

    4. We are more interested in being than in having. In other words, it’s not quantity but quality of life that we want.

    5. Our music will tell you something about our feelings, for behind music there is almost always a philosophy (and their music tells us of such things as their alienation, loneliness, boredom, emptiness, futility, disillusionment, and questioning).

    6. We will change the world for the better, or we’ll know the reason why.

What does all this demand of us adults? It demands, among other things:

    1. A new honesty (Let’s face it, we don’t have all the answers).

    2. A new consistency in our lives.

    3. That we’re happy to be adults. In other words, let’s not worship the youth syndrome.

    4. That we remember we are vulnerable, i.e., we make mistakes and we need to own up to them.

    5. That we be available to our young people whether in the home, church, or elsewhere.

    6. That we accept young people as they are, where they are, and who they are; not as we wish they were, where we would like them to be, or what we think they ought to be.

As true Christians we know that CHRIST is the answer to both their needs and ours, but just how are we presenting and representing Him to youth?