From Cradle to Cradle

There’s probably no denying that technology has changed the way we communicate with one another. But technology, specifically the internet, has afforded me the privilege of staying connected or even re-connecting with people from the past.

I’ve always enjoyed working with teens so naturally when it was time to create a much needed youth group at church for the 14-18 year olds, I stepped up the plate earnestly. Because of my age, I was old enough to be respected as an adult by the teens yet not quite old enough to be their parent. As for their parents, well, that was another matter. Some didn’t believe I was old enough to guide this age group and others embraced the fact that I was the bridge between them and their children.

The highlight of our time together was a weekend retreat that I planned with the youth leaders; 6 youth were nurtured as leaders and I was merely their mentor and friend. We had very close to 40 teens from 3 different churches who participated in the retreat. It happened that the retreat was scheduled before I knew about my graduation day from university so the youth leaders were responsible for the first night together.

I still have tucked away in my bible in the book of Jeremiah the index card I wrote up with instructions and reminders to one of the youth leaders for their weekend retreat. Some of the reminders included:

  • When people settle in, ask them to bring their bibles with them to the lodge along with something to write with (all I’ve got in the supply box are crayons).
  • Don’t forget to make the jello if you want it for Saturday’s special dinner (jello eating contest- no hands/spoons/etc allowed- only the jello in a bowl).
  • Have fun! Enjoy yourself! This is YOUR retreat.
  • See you very early Saturday morning for breakfast (actually, I’ll probably give my infamous wake up call!).

Many years have now lapsed since that unforgettable weekend but the friendships from that time remain. Many of the then-teenagers still keep in touch with one another although they scattered across the country for studies. I’ve kept up with a few and it’s been such a delight to hear who is engaged, who is now married, and who is now even a parent. I keep them all in my prayers as I hear of their successes, their fears, and their uncertainties.

I had the joy of reconnecting with the youth leader to whom I wrote those reminders on the index card recently and it was so neat to finally be able to talk to her not as a teen but as woman. I am so proud of her and all her accomplishments. To see a beautiful woman, wife, and mother has given me great delight. And even more so is the fact that it is now I who can turn to her with my questions of faith and questions of life.

We plant seeds in people’s lives and often times we don’t have the opportunity to see if and how those seeds have germinated. But seeing those seeds that I tried to plant with care, love, and sincerity in the teens whom I walked alongside, I am reminded that it is not of my doing but that of God; and thank God for his watchful eye over them and over me.


“For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.” (Psalm 71:5)

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