One Response to “A lost generation” — are young people a political force for the future or the impassive masses?

  1. Excellent thoughts there.

    A very good book on a similar subject is ‘Practicing Passion’ by Kendra Dean. It’s an explicitly American Evangelical christian text, but is one of the best examples I’ve seen of drawing together some developmental psychology and youth work. The main argument of the book is that the part of the brain that promotes impulsiveness and passionate responses develops faster (at around the teenage years) than the part of the brain that acts as a ‘filter’ for those passionate impulses. Dean argues that young people have a disposition towards being passionate which they will use somewhere, somehow.

    Her call is for churches to take this seriously, to move away from keeping young people ‘safe’ and attempting to undermine (or even vilify) this sense of passion, and provide opportunities for them to ‘spend’ it wisely (such as, through social action).

    Of course, many reading this will have no particular interest in Christian youth ministry literature, but the premise holds true in other areas. If teenagers are predisposed to such passionate behaviour, how do we as workers encourage that to be used in a positive and appropriate fashion?

    I must admit though, I doubt that they’ve ‘had enough’. Sometimes I think we forget that many young people are encountering life’s big issues for the first time. They haven’t had chance to ‘have enough’ yet. Though, many battle scared youth workers may (understandably) be lacking enthusiasm!

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