Thought for the Day by Katherine-Alice Grasham (All Hallows’)
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you’re young.”1 Timothy 4:11-16
In fairness, I don’t get called “young” as much anymore – I’m steadily approaching 30, and I own games consoles older than the teenagers I work with. Nevertheless, I’ve had my fair share of being looked down on for being young. It probably doesn’t help that people tell me I still look about 15 (not the compliment they think it is!!), but I often find I am underestimated and talked down to in my job, and even sometimes in churches. How much worse this must be for actual young people!!
The passage in 1 Timothy 4 goes on to say “set an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.” The Bible is very clear that young people should not only be allowed to speak, but should be expected to, and we should be listening. The whole rhetoric of “adults always know best” is not biblical.
I am so lucky to work with young people (mostly teenagers). They are endlessly funny, creative, caring, and courageous, and I am constantly inspired by them. My own youth group are keen to make a difference in our community in Bradford, and sometimes I think that I’m hindering more than helping. But by spending time with them, I can feel myself learning and growing, and being changed. What a blessing!!
I wonder how we can make sure we are encouraging our young people to share more of themselves so that we might learn from them? It can be hard, chaotic even, but it’s SO worth it.