Director of Faith Development's Messages
In my last newsletter piece, I made the suggestion that it's okay for generation gaps to feel a little scary. How true this is! Every day we are faced with the changing speed of life. With this comes inevitable shifts in expectations and behavior, by all of us. Add to that, the commodity of time and woah! we can feel behind, disoriented, or discouraged. From a distant, the material abundance of our lifestyle might obscure a glimpse into what is really pricelessly and timelessly sacred to us.
Two weeks ago, an activity took place in the Faith Development program that acknowledged the current cultural mandate to make experiences fast and efficient. This program also acknowledged the human need to make experiences meaningful and worth it. It was an event conceived by a couple Faith Development leaders over the course of weeks and emails, and even notes on napkins, that would bring together many adults with this year’s Coming of Age youth.In the past, mentors committed to a full-year of mentoring with youth -- sometimes one on one, and sometimes one mentor for several youth. This is a rich tradition and a crucial element in one's faith and personal development -- that is, to receive guidance and wisdom by elders in their faith community. Yet the question is being asked and explored in many ways -- what if we don't have time but we want to be a part of preserving this sacred tradition?
In order to respond to the sincere desire and real limitations that are in our midst, the Speed Meet and Greet emerged. Adults in the congregation were invited and RSVPs were collected. Eleven adults made cheerful commitments! Meanwhile, the youth prepared by reflecting on questions that ranged from "what's your favorite subject in school?" to "if I had the power to change anything in the world, it would be..."Youth brought in tasty desserts and were coached for conversation skills. Fellowship Hall was set up with a circle of ten cafe tables (with table cloths), name plates, personal display items, a deck of fun questions, pens and intake sheets for asking Big Questions like, "do you think there is more or less compassion in the world than when you were young?" Adults pre-gathered in a circle of chairs (aka, "The Pit").
Then the bell rang and Round One began: For one minute, share responses to fun question #1.
Then the bell rang again: For three minutes, share your response to one of the Big Questions.
Once more the bell rang and: The room is quiet while youth took notes.
When time is compressed by intention, we have a chance to prioritize what's important. We don't take too much time to think or be perfect or to say, "let me get back to you." What results is a fun and authentic way to get to know each other and get closer and have fun while we're doing it. We have a chance to see the real us.
The Speed Meet and Greet was all that and more. We know that for some, it was just enough. We know that for others, it was a reminder that more is possible. More time is needed to get to know each other and be delighted by each other's stories, perspectives, and wisdom. This Faith Development exploration is an example of adaptive and innovative thinking that responds to real needs and real desires for us to connect in meaningful ways. These are the 21st Century skills that have emerged as critical to our survival and what is also referred to as thrival. Each generation creates a legacy -- for better and for not-so-much. Each generation makes their mark by finding their own voice while creating new and vital ways to stay connected from one age to the next.
Adults love luxury because we know the poverty of time, resources, relationships, and spirit. We adults we have a sacred role in sharing what that looks like for us. Children may be surprised to find out that we too love getting a new pair of sneakers!