Not Too Young For Great Feats
“George was born in northern Virginia in 1732 to a middle class family. When he was eleven years old, he lost his father. Even though his peers never considered him very bright, he applied himself to his studies and mastered geometry, trigonometry, and surveying (think algebra and calculus) by the time he was sixteen years old. At seventeen, George had a chance to put his studies to use at his first job. Talk about a job! Official surveyor of Culpeper County, Virginia. This wasn’t a teen’s job, and it certainly wasn’t office work. For the next three years George endured the hardships of frontier life as he measured and recorded previously unmapped territories. His measuring tools were heavy logs, chains, and rope. George Washington was a man at seventeen, not a teen.” (Do Hard Things, Alex and Brett Harris, copyright 2008©).
Just a few centuries ago young people were both capable and expected to rise to great challenges before them. However in a society that places such low expectations on them, we’re finding out that they are willing to only put forth the necessary efforts to meet their expectations. The lives of many youth consist of hours before televisions and computer monitors, continually texting on the smart phones which are completely paid for by their parents. Personal responsibility, ambition and drive are foreign concepts among many in this age group.
It hasn’t always been this way. We find biblical example of the tremendous potential that young people may display when coupled with a God-centered upbringing. When king Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, he collected some of the Hebrew youths as his personal servants. Enter Daniel, Hananiah, Nishael, and Azariah. Scholars suggest that these young men were only 14-16 years old at this time. What do we know about their character? In Daniel 1:4 we find that they:
– Were intelligent in every branch of wisdom
– Were endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge
– Were able to serve
– Could quickly learn Chaldean and all of their foreign literature
There’s no reason we shouldn’t expect the same from our youths in this age. If we are to see a positive shift in our younger generation’s work ethic there are three concepts we must implement. We must first set the bar high. Secondly, we must be intimately involved in their upbringing. And finally, we must encourage them to do great things. If we realize the capability of our youth, we’ll find that we have more active soldiers to fight with us in God’s army.