I read a tweet the other day talking about how teenagers were staging walk-ins and such in part because the stories that they were raised on were stories of students overthrowing oppressive governments. They said it better than that, but that was the idea. When that mixed in my head with a podcast I heard about how my generation was raised on the notion that we as kids could fight the monster, and solve the problem on our own (think E.T., Goonies, Gremlins, and the like).
So recently I have been thinking about how much the stories of our childhood shape what we think and what we do. The movies of my childhood (80s and very early 90s) were about rising up against the bullies. It was about taking back the school for the little guy or stopping the “local” monster or evil. It wasn’t often about saving the world, it was normally about saving yourself in the moment and a few other downtrodden people get helped too.
The generation today is raised on Hunger Games, The Maze, Divergent*, and a whole host of other dystopian future stories. In them the protagonist isn’t fighting against local struggles, but against all of oppressive society and control.
I was shaped by the stories of my youth. I see myself still as the little nerd who is fighting with his wits against bullies to protect the little guy. The generation graduating from high school this year see themselves as Katniss Everdeen taking on governments and overthrowing whole systems. It shapes the way that they see the world and themselves.
The thing is the generation (I am using that term loosely here) right below them, the middle schoolers of today are not watching any stories. They are watching other people play games on Twitch and watching other people talk about life on YouTube. I wonder what will happen when they grow up. How will a generation raised on YouTube stars see the world?
*OK, so Divergent. As a child of the 80s I like stories that are about the hero becoming more heroic. It is the hero’s journey that matters to me, the saving the world part is secondary. In Divergent by the end of the first book they have already had a revolution. That’s like sticking the Return of the Jedi ending on A New Hope and then talking about the extended universe stuff for the next two movies.
It seems like most of what we are doing these days is posting videos, but I am trying to build up the new Confessions of an Average Youth Minister Youtube page. So I am trying to do a video a day. Some of them are just the average youth minister vlogs and some are like this, tips and tutorials for youth ministers. In this video I give 10 quick things to do before you start planning your next youth retreat.
So about a month ago I got a new computer and I had so much fun getting it up and running with all of my programs. There is something cool about having a new clean computer that you can add things to. It is an easy way to clean out things you don’t need and you it is almost therapeutic to organize all of the windows and menus just the way that you like them.
But when that same computer had a fatal crash yesterday and I had to reinstall windows I didn’t enjoy myself anywhere near as much. The work was the same, the steps the same, but something about the fact that I had already done it before made me not want to do it again. There is something fun about new work and something terrible about repeat work.
I think that is why sometimes it is hard being a youth pastor because it seems like you are continually doing the same work over and over again. For one things the work never stops. There will always be another Wednesday, another Sunday, another event, another party, camp, retreat, whatever. Add to that the constant turnover of students, who spend just a moment in your group and then graduate to other areas of ministry and it seems like every so often we are starting over again from scratch and have to go back and do all of the same things again.
I think that is one of the reasons why it so easy to get burned out as a youth pastor, or any pastor really because it seems like we are just tilling the same soil over and over again.
This is the part of one of these posts where I should say something that is uplifting and that will help you to deal when you walk through these times, but honestly, I have spent the day installing programs and setting preferences that I just set a few weeks ago and I am tired of doing the same work again and again.
Here I am again talking about youth pastor type stuff. In this lesson I talk a bit about some games and some game sites and I spend some time expanding on this idea of Wildlife and what it is all about. If you do check out the video be sure to do the whole like and subscribe thing. It makes my day when I see new likes.