How often does the college application process for a single student make the front page of a national paper like USA Today? It happened on Tuesday, April 1, 2014. The feature centered around the academic ambitions of a Shirley, New York, Senior, whose academic future would seem secure and assumably provided for. He made history when last week he opened an acceptance letter from Harvard University. That alone is impressive, but that letter made it complete. Every single one of the eight Ivy League colleges formally accepted Kwasi Enin as a student. It is amazing that Kwasi would apply to all of them, and almost unheard of to be “invited to attend them all” (Greg Toppo, 1 A, 4/1/14). His guidance counselor said, “It’s a big deal when we have students apply to one or two Ivies. To get into one or two is huge. It was extraordinary” (ibid.).
So maybe our congregation does not have any academic prodigies like Kwasi Enin. With all due and considerable respect, we have something even better. We have a large repository of talent and spirituality in our midst among our youth and teens. Their dreams are endless. They dare to do great things, ask friends to services, stand up for their faith, share profound spiritual thoughts, and much more that we, as adults, find jaw-dropping. They reach for the sky because they are too young to be bothered with such mole hills as worry, fear, and limitation! They believe they can change the world and make it a better place and their faith in Christ can put some of ours to shame.
When Paul tells Timothy to let no one look down on him because he is young (1 Tim. 4:12), he is speaking to us, too. Our youth have growing and maturing to do. They will accrue wisdom and experience in the process of time. But, may we help nurture their enthusiasm and stoke their optimism. They need to keep it. We need them to keep it. With dark days ahead, we will depend on the faith and valiant efforts of today’s youth! May we recognize how truly amazing they are and help them see how important they are to God’s work.