All over America, young people are asking questions about their future. One of the privileges I enjoy is talking to them real-time. They are looking for answers to questions like; What are my skills? Should I marry? What are my occupational choices? Is there really a God?
One of my concerns is not having the right answer for them. I remember when I was preparing to consider a serious life long relationship. I asked a lot of people for advice. Some of their responses were good, but some turned out to be the worst advice ever. I had to treat the information like chicken (eat the meat and through out the bones). But that experience can make a person gun-shy to help others. After all, you want to know the answers you give are going to help others. Recently, while eating pizza and wings with a group of very bright students all in their first year of college, it was one of those moments. Time for questions and answers. The first question was delivered and it was a solid blow. I was bit concerned. It was a great question! I had no idea what the answer was. “OK, let’s close this meeting down and call it a night” I thought. Not on your life! It’s time to admit that well intentioned, professionally trained adults in leadership often don’t have the answers on the tip of their tongue. What did that young person need? The truth; “Great question, I have no idea what the answer is! Let’s check with someone who may know the answer to your very good question.” It’s important to spend time with those asking tough questions. It is also important to know when you don’t have the answers not to shut down the questions. Right now the list of questions students are asking are broader than the ones mentioned at the beginning of this article. Additional questions might include; How do I help a friend struggling with identity questions? Is racism real? What should a campuses response be toward the recent election? Remember that the most read book in the world is the Holy Bible. The Bible has answers! Please don’t overlook it truths or think its not worth closer examination because you’ve already read it and gleaned some important nuggets out of it. A friend of mine who has been teaching for over 51 years recently told a group of students “I desire to always be learning.” Additionally know that the Word of God may point you to the process that will answer your question. Proverbs 12:15, Proverbs 11:14 and Proverbs 1:7 all encourage the reader to seek wise counsel. It was a joy while talking to young people about paying for education, for example, to share with them how 4 members of my family have paid for their education. Their questions may not be easy, simple, pat or cut and dry, but it’s great that they are asking those thorny questions and it’s a privilege to occasionally get to answer them too.