It may be a part of the unique wiring of young people’s radar. They are able to gain a sense about adults through observation, and are able to figure who might be “out to get them” or who may actually “get them”. The choice is clear, we should want to “get them” as much as they want to be “gotten”.
The point that is being made is exemplified in the classic movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It addresses the topic of being understood beautifully. This excerpt occurs between the Dean of Students, Mr. Rooney, and his secretary, Grace.
Rooney: The last thing I need is Bueller disciples running around these halls. He
jeopardizes my ability to govern this student body.
Grace: He makes you look like an ass.
Rooney: Thank you, but you’re wrong.
Grace: He’s very popular. Sportos, motor-heads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids,
dweebies… they all adore him.
Rooney: That is why I have got to catch him. To show these kids that his example is a first-class ticket
Grace: Ed! You sounded like Dirty Harry just then.
Rooney: Really? Thanks, Grace.
Mr. Rooney has a real “Go ahead, make my day” attitude regarding young people. Ferris and his youthful associates are intentional about circumventing that at every turn. They get a kick out of it, and every time he over-reacts they are empowered to continue. Then you throw in a personality like Mr. Rooney’s, and you will find that young people will always make sure they are at the opposite end of it regardless of the environment (ex: school, Church, home, extracurricular activities).
Meanwhile, the secretary, Grace, seems to have the capability to get what is going on with the young people. If you were a sporto, motorhead, or geek, who would you choose to confide in — Grace or Mr. Rooney? Kids will confide in the person that they feel “gets them”. The Church needs to “get them”, and relay how parents can get them too. There is no real communication that can take place without that, and youth are certainly not going to be interested in listening to what you have to say, and absorbing it.
For Discussion: How might the Church, while remaining authentic to her truths, convey that they “get” the next generation? Please comment below with your critique clarifications, and responses. <image sources>