Boy, is this younger generation ever going to the dogs! Who hasn't heard that said?Well, they may be, but if so, you can't prove it by me. I was reminded this week, on a number of fronts, that today's youth are actually the salt of the earth and I am here to testify that the salt has not lost its savor. Despite all we adults do to screw things up, the future is in good hands.
For one thing I returned to school this week, which is where I feel most at home. I have the best students in the world. They are bright and polite and caring and have a passion for learning. I enjoy every minute I spend in my classroom. I realize that most teachers don't enjoy the autonomy I'm afforded in my classroom and most teachers don't have the caliber of students that I am privileged to teach, but it is going to be really hard to walk out that door for the last time in May without looking back.
Then Tuesday evening my lovely wife, Lisa, invited me to watch an Internet simulcast with her, so we could see how our two youngest children -- the ones still in college -- are spending their winter vacation, along with 42,000 of their closest friends. They were in the Georgia Dome -- but they weren't there for a football game. This trip was much more fruitful than their previous two visits in September and December.
They were there, along with thousands of other college students from all over the country, for an event called "Passion, 2012." It was like a three-day tent revival on steroids -- or maybe those were just post-pubescent hormones, or maybe the Holy Spirit. Whatever it was, it was something to behold.
This event lasted four days and the students' days lasted from "can to can't," as my daddy used to say. When my kids are at home it is all I can do to get them out of the bed and downstairs for breakfast before noon. Every day this past week they were out and about and taking part in small group Bible studies by 9 a.m. On those rare occasions when they are home on weekends it is a major undertaking to get them to attend one 11 a.m. service at our local church. They paid a couple hundred dollars apiece to be a part of Passion 2012 and attended services at 10:45 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. -- and followed those up with an additional "community group" at 9:30. That's a lot of listening, a lot of music and a lot of preaching.
And speaking of the preaching, we heard some of the sessions online and the preachers weren't pussy-footing around and trying to avoid stepping on toes, let me tell you. They were forevermore shelling down the corn and in their own way were encouraging the thousands of college students in attendance to get convicted or quit pretending.
Beth Moore was one of the speakers. My wife is a big fan of Beth Moore. I am a big fan of what Beth Moore stands for and of what she has to say. She actually talked one night about human bondage and revealed that there are thousands of people held in slavery around the world and questioned why nobody does anything about it. If people who profess to be Christians won't, who will? I think some of the folks in the Georgia Dome will.
Andy Stanley also spoke, as well as several other outstanding presenters. The music was fantastic, too -- if you like that sort of music. Most young people do. All in all I was as uplifted as those in attendance and my faith in the future was renewed.
And then Tuesday night, as I was reveling in the after-glow of the first night of Passion 2012, I started getting texts from a former student, Kara Fambrough. Kara is a freshman at UGA and setting the woods on fire in the world of international affairs. She has already been awarded a fellowship in the Security Leadership Program administered by the Center for International Trade and Security. Tuesday night Kara was having major concerns about the early returns in the Iowa caucuses. We discussed the upcoming election into the night and she seemed ready to hit the campaign trail immediately to try and make the nation, once again, safe for democracy and commerce.
And please understand -- Kara's politics is in no way the issue, her passion about the future of the country is. There's that word again. Passion.
Don't count this generation out yet, y'all, because there are lots and lots and lots of highly driven young people with a passion for all that is good and important in life. I am convinced that this old world will keep right on turning and that 2012 will be a year for the ages.
Darrell Huckaby is an author and teacher in Rockdale County.