A friend told me of his experiences the other day. He was invited to give a talk in a college to eighteen year old students. He was very clear to point out that the students were free to interrupt and ask questions – there was silence. Part way through, he started to ask the students some questions – there was silence!. He asked some more questions – there was silence!!. At the end of the presentation he asked if there were any questions – there was silence!!!

After the talk, he was speaking to one of the teachers in the college and he said “what’s wrong with these kid’s” and the teacher said to him “they are still only fifteen, they are children, they haven’t grown up. The two years when they turn from children to young adults is missing!”

We are all I expect in our own ways moved and changed over the last two years. But we are beginning to go back to old ways. Old procedures of socialising and dealing with the world that are entrenchly built into the fabric of our lives. But these eighteen year adults have no adult past history to resume.

We all like kid’s when they are cute, but when they proceed to adolescence they suddenly get a bad press. This is when they start questioning themselves and become thinking, caring, judging young adults; such an important time. Between sixteen and eighteen is surely the most important time of all. How can they make up for a time they don’t know.

They are now being thrust into a world of adult interactions, responsibility, career choices, University, living away from mum and dad, the birds and the bees, why the world is horrible, the meaning of life.

All this and from my cosy pension fund, and home ownership fuddy duddy lifestyle, I haven’t got a clue how to help! I can tell them about rock music, or Beethoven, or my boring experiences of life in the seventies and eighties, but this is all useless twaddle, and what’s more, I know I should not do so.

Perhaps it’s best just to realise that we should not bear false witness against them or judge them according to our own times. I told a mum and dad how I was so impressed by their son doing a dumb job, and eventually doing a technical apprentice rather than appeasing society pressure in taking on student debt.

There are so many groups of different people. We need to love them with all our heart.

written by a Methodist Member