Rachel Dotzler – Mesa Student Pastor
I am a huge reader. I love reading stories that capture my imagination and take me on a journey with the words that are written down before me. There is nothing more exhilarating for me than to realize I have been engulfed in a story and minutes have bled into hours. When this happens, and it happens often, I put my head up and my eyes spin back and forth and everything appears blurry because my eyes have been reading text for so long. I then realize that I am back in my own world and I am not Hermione Granger, Lucy from Narnia, The Red Queen, Laia the slave girl, or Katniss Everdeen. This realization is a little disappointing, but I am thankful for what books are to me.
I do love books that teach me about Jesus and leadership, but I have zero shame in saying that those are not my favorite books to read. I love fictional stories that involve messy people, living in messy worlds, trying to make the right choices, while at the same time still trying to be human. I relate to characters in stories and most of the time they teach me more about being human than any other non-fiction, informative book does. There is a fictional character who I admire most and is simply brilliant, Albus Dumbledore. You’re missing out if you do not know who he is! Albus Dumbledore said something in the sixth book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, that I want to share with you.
“Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.” Albus Dumbledore
Albus Dumbledore, with every fiber of his being, believed in teenagers and this is just one of many reasons why I love him.
We, all of us, underestimate youth. We toss around phrases like, “Oh, they are JUST teenagers,” or, “This generation is doomed because of technology,” or, “When I was your age I never did that.” All of these words make me cringe. I see teenagers stepping out in faith more than adults; I see teenagers getting out of their comfort zone more than adults; I see teenagers going through things that I never went through when I was a teenager (not because it’s their fault, but because it’s ours), and I see more teenagers than adults understanding that we need to love better and make a change in how we see and show Jesus to others. They are changing the church, but we are missing it because we think they are JUST teenagers. I think we should be saying, “Because they are teenagers, they are changing the future of the church for the better.”
These thoughts all stem from a couple trips that are coming up in March, one for Junior High and one for High School students. I get the honor and privilege to lead the trip to New York City with our high school students and it is not because of their abilities that they are going on this trip, it is because of their choice to do so. It is them choosing, “Yes, I want to experience how to love better and I choose to be uncomfortable so I can see things that Jesus wants me to see.”
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Albus Dumbledore
Fifteen teenagers were given a choice and their decision to pursue a six-day trip to experience culture, personal growth, different religions, and to see people as Jesus sees them will shape their lives greatly. It is not their abilities that will shape their future, it is their choices, here and now, that will change everything. We don’t help the future generations by saying they are problems, saying they “Weren’t like me when I was young,” or, “I understand what you are going through,” because we don’t understand. We can only listen, support, and guide them to make choices that will allow them to experience Jesus in new ways. I ask that you will consider praying for our future generations, that you will consider believing in them rather than underestimating them, and that you will pray for their choices. If you want to hear more about the trip and support our team, check out this link.
Thankful for what teenagers teach me, thankful for stories and books that take me on journeys of adventure, and thankful for Albus Dumbledore for teaching me about teenagers, choices, and love.Click here for the photo credit on this post