There it was. The moment I fully acknowledged it. Acknowledged that I didn´t belong to the „young generation“ anymore.
It happened at a conference. Someone on the stage got everyone up to the age of 30 to stand to his or her feet. I had turned 31 one month prior to the event.
Then everyone else got up. The next moment I prayed as with all the „older people“ for the „next generation“.
It felt strange. It felt good at the same time. It has definitely been a moment that moved me and has had a lasting impact on me.
For more than 15 years others have invested into my life. Today I´m more convinced than ever before that it´s worth it to value young people.
Below I list a few things that have helped me:
1) Take time
As my parents got divorced I was thankful for someone I could talk to. The same thing was true as I had to make some tough decisions concerning my career.
Yes, to sit down with someone and to listen costs you precious time. In order to show interest you need to concentrate and ask questions. To buy food or drinks will cost you even a few dollars.
You shouldn´t underestimate, however, how much this can mean to the young man or woman, as well as what can come out of it.
„Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise." Andy Stanley
2) Give feedback
Boy, I´ve acted like an idiot a couple of times. In addition to other mistakes I´ve been rude, arrogant and proud in various situations.
Not on purpose but without realizing it.
What a blessing that I had older people in my life that addressed these things.
Make sure your feedback is welcome in general. Then address the issues. Make sure that it´s with love but with as much peace and clarity as possible.
It may be that you (Yes, YOU!) will be part of forming a strong and mature character.
3) Give gifts
A good gift for a younger person can serve in two ways at the same time.
On one hand it adds value:
„I´ve thought about you.
„I taken time and selected this thing for you.“
„You mean so much to me that I´ve spent money to buy this for you.“
On the other hand a well selected gift is a great opportunity to influence the development of someone. The options are countless …
A book that helps the younger person to take his or her next step as a leader.
A notepad or a nice pen as an encouragement to start journaling.
A worship album that touches his or her heart and strengthens his or her faith.
Why not write down a short dedication in the gift you chose? That brings an even more personal touch to the whole thing. As well as it can serve even years later as an encouragement and a memory.
Which acts from others have helped you with your development? Which things you can add to this list? I´m looking forward to read you comment.