I have met the enemy…he is us!
The Breakfast Club didn’t work. My generation came of age with this recent-classic move about the generation gap. Wikipedia says some consider this movie “the definitive movie within the genre” of teen movies. Definitive though it may have been, it doesn’t seem to have convinced us to treat the next generation differently.
When it came out, I was approaching my 21st birthday and looking forward to a life of youth ministry. Writer/director John Hughes was dead on with the difficulties and challenges of our era of youth, and even better at portraying adults as utterly disconnected from us.
I was moved at the time, and have been for the 23 years since. I committed myself not to be as disconnected from youth coming behind me as principal Richard Vernon was. He represented all that was wrong with adults. He knew the kids better than they knew themselves. He had each one figured out based on the group he or she was a part of. He spoke very poorly of them, their families, and their chances of growing up to be successful.
My daughter just graduated from high school. As we went through all the final things senoir classes and their parents go through, as I observed her and her classmates and my fellow parents, I couldn’t help but think we have become Richard Vernon.
How could it happen? How could we, who grew up with that movie, have allowed this to happen?
I sat on a committee recently that was charged with hiring a new youth director. One of the other people on the committee said “It scares me to think where this world is goign to be in 20 or 30 years for these kids.”
I replied, without hesitation, “Oh, I can’t wait! There’s so much good happening that these youth will get to experience the Kingdom of God in ways you and I haven’t imagined!”
I believe that. Completely. And if we can manage not to let ourselves become a bunch of Richard Vernons, we may also get to partake!