There is nothing quite like a weekend with six crazy teenage girls to remind myself just how young I am and how old I've become. Last week, my two friends and I led a retreat for our youth group girls to the beautiful Appalachian Mountains in Boone, North Carolina.
I've been leading youth trips since I was 18, if you count the three summers as a camp counselor, which I do. Many of those campers are grown and married now, which is weird! My first set of youth group kids are in the engaged stage of life, also weird! My second set of youth clubbers (this is the Irish batch), are all caught up in the university (college here in the states).
I've lost track of the number of sugar-filled late-nights I've spent fighting over spoons and laughing hysterically.
Though the snacks and the games remain the same, the kids have changed over the last ten years, and so have I. This past weekend was a reminder of how much so!
Signs I've Still Got It: I'm Young
1. I can still start and sustain an entire dance party.
2. I can still eat as many brownies as anyone else ... and a whole bag of licorice nibs as well.
3. I know enough of the Top 40 Hits to rock out with everyone in the car on the way up. (Though I don't know that I want to admit this.)
Signs I'm Out of It: Getting Old
1. Though I own a Vera Bradley weekend bag (like the rest of the girls), I decided my L.L. Bean boat bag was a more practical choice.
2. I wanted to sleep in my own room.
3. I was (perhaps overly) fascinated by the fixtures and bead board in the bathroom and the incredible butcher block in the kitchen.
4. I thought that Freddie Krueger was a nightmare from Elm Street, not a comedian like they informed me he is.
5. When an episode of Friends came on (without sound), I was able to tell the girls the entire plot-line of the episode. (It was the one with Phoebe's grandma's cookie recipe). They didn't know who Phoebe was.
6. During a game of Catchphrase, I was the only one in the room who knew that Bob Barker was the original host of the Price Is Right, other than Shelly, and she's older than me.
7. I brought my four month old son. I have a son. Enough said.
8. I left my daughter at home. I have two kids.
Despite the fact that the age gap continues to grow between myself and the girls in our youth group, I can say with earnestness, that regardless of age, our little group was able to find common ground in the Scriptures.
We studied the book of Proverbs over the course of the weekend, and it truly was awesome to see the girls get excited about understanding the Word of God and growing in their wisdom and knowledge of it.
I kind of feel like I'm writing this blog as an ongoing study of Proverbs. Proverbs are all about assessing life situations, attaining wisdom, and learning from mistakes. They are about growing up and making choices. They are about seeking to live a life that is full of wisdom rather than folly, righteousness rather than wickedness, productivity rather than laziness, and peace rather than strife. Ultimately, they are about living a life that brings glory to God!
Though I won't go into this further now, I hope to continually reference Proverbs throughout this blog. How can I possibly hope to "get a clue" apart from the guidance and direction contained in the Bible?
I'll end with two Proverbs related to age.
Proverbs 20:29: "The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old."
Proverbs 16:31: "Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life."
Sunday morning after the retreat, I spotted a white sucker in my head and pulled it out. Does this just prove I've been spending too much time with teenagers ... or am I on my way?
Lesson Learned: Even if generations of teenagers change, the truth of the Word of God remains the same.