Young people crave heroes.
I have been meditating on this truth ever since my visit yesterday to a local school where I spoke to a wonderful group of fifth graders. Many of them had already read my books, and to them, I was a celebrity. Although I gave each one an autographed bookmark, dozens of wide-eyed kids asked me to sign pieces of paper, marker boards, even a baseball mitt. It was a bit embarrassing to be the object of so much attention, but the magnitude of a young person's desire to be a part of, or to be near, a significant person (at least to them) really impressed me.
Why is this true? I think God implants in each one of us a passion for doing something significant, and although many adults may have suppressed the urge, young people feel that seed of passion. When they see someone fulfilling the innate calling, they are naturally drawn to that person. Still too young to carry out the calling themselves, they want to grab hold of the sports hero, media celebrity, or even an author who is stepping out to do something noteworthy.
What can we do to nurture and develop this planted seed in young people? I have some ideas I will be sharing soon. If anyone out there wants to chime in, please do.