On Being a Middle Aged Youth Worker
It is kinda frustrating that teenagers do not appreciate the middle aged person's life experience and instead prefer whoever is "new", as if the novelty of their words imparts the greater wisdom. This view was even shared by a twenty-something youth pastor I knew. In his book, I was too old to work with students at 31 years of age; when I was 35, he insisted I had "nothing" to offer them. (He later changed his tune when he himself crossed the magic age of 30). Regardless, I don't pay attention to those pronouncements. I may not jump into a game of Bombardment anymore but I have so much more to offer than that. The students who want the superficial stuff aren't going to come talk to me anyway (although they are quite shocked to discover that I do know about their culture), the ones that are serious about their faith do come around. Still, it is amusing when they first try to get an answer out of the young, "cool" worker who then refers the student to me anyway.
I guess my perspective on the whole issue comes from the fact that I work with youth, not to serve them, but to serve Christ. Sure, I'd like to have a twenty-something body again and go sledding down the hill next month at Winter Camp but let me keep the forty-something mind.