Adolescence: The Busy-ness of Growing Up

Former learning mates :D
I had a pretty long day teaching last Tuesday. I have large classes of students to teach this year. But the day was made extremely long because of my six-inch stiletto heels. :)

For the life of me, I can not find any reason why I wore it, except that I wasn't thinking. Or probably, I regressed to my adolescent years when I felt insecure for being short.

But after being in this world this long and after all the years of education, I should know by now that a man's worth (and most importantly, a woman's) is not in his height or appearance. Pardon me, I forgot. I forgot that what matters is not on the surface but what's deep down inside us.

So I spent a whole day with pinched feet as I taught lessons, miserably learning my own lesson. And it didn't help at all that even in my painful perch, the adolescents with their gangly legs towered over me.

Happily, though, I was able to deliver with passion, despite the pain, the lessons my students had to learn that day and was blessed in return. And what a fulfilling day it was. Adolescents rock!

It has been my pleasure of learning with adolescents for the past few years. The experience is fascinating. Much as I like being with young kids, with all their energy and wonder, adolescents bring a special gift with their developing minds and active seeking of new ideas, their sense of wonder still intact. Just like last Tuesday, I am often caught off guard by what goes on in their heads. Their imaginations are often so realistic that they are uncannily funny, even hilarious.

I can't help but go down memory lane on my own "coming of age" years, which was beset with lots of inner turmoil, depression... and dreams. Dreams kept me afloat, mostly unharmed from troubles. Looking back at it now, I can even laugh at myself. But my, why was I so serious back then?

Because, back then, I knew what I wanted. Everything looked so certain for me, yet far. I was waiting to grow up. I didn't know that I was already growing up, becoming into the person that I wanted to be. I thought dreams only happen to those who are already 'big'. Maturity, in other words, equals dreams. So I waited for the right time to do what I wanted to do and be.

Learning from an Early Adolescent

Jesus, on the other hand, didn't wait to do what He came here to do. Read Luke 2:49.

And he said to them, "Why did you seek Me? 
Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" 

Oftentimes, we dismiss adolescents as still too young to contribute anything productive to our society that we patronize them. When they voice out their opinions, we have it in our minds that they still have a long way to go before their voices can be relied on. I wonder why we do that.

When I was fourteen, I told my English teacher back then that I wanted to work with words--- a communicator. I was just fascinated with words, especially when I would find delightful ones and when I don't, I made them up myself. I loved combining words and how when they came together in a sentence everything became magical. My teacher just offhandedly told me, "So, what is it really you want to do?" To my dreamy young self, her question sounded like there is nothing like that that a person can do. Like, one can not really craft words. Well, use them for something functional like at school or business or work, yeah, but not really do more with them. She sounded like it was preposterous to make something beautiful, inspiring, or courageous with them.

I wonder how many young people will never get to see their dreams come true because of dusty, old, cynical adults?

Jesus was lost... or His earthly parents, Joseph and Mary, lost Him in the crowd and the high-spirit of the moment. They were returning home after the Passover feast. It was only after three days of searching that "They found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening and asking them questions" (Luke 2:46). And right away, Mary chided Him, " Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously" (verse 48).

Jesus spoke the verse above, "I must be about My Father's business." He knew even back then who He was and what He had to do. He has a relationship with His Father and He was certain what He wanted to be.

God is not waiting for us to grow up and do what He dreams for us to do. The moment we are conceived all of heaven (and the universe) works to help us fulfill this dream. He dreams to pour out His Spirit on us that we may be more than what we see. He dreams to breath life into every moment of our existence that we may live abundantly. This for a certainty is happening as He has promised:

‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, 
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; 
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, 
Your young men shall see visions, 
Your old men shall dream dreams.

For adolescents, why wait when you can live that dream now? Get on with the business of growing up by doing your heavenly Father's will. Get involved in His business. Live His dreams for you. Live big for Him.

For adults, do you remember the time you were filled with dreams? When Heaven was knocking on your heart wanting to be partners with you in this grand scheme of life? Why have you lost the wonder? Don't you know God cares for what you do just as He did back then? He is waiting to live those dreams in and with you. Let's get back in His business. If you may, spend time with young people. You may be surprised at what you'll learn. The worst thing that could happen is... their zest for growing up may rub off on you.

Being in God's business is a sure way to grow up.

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