To Trust in Love…

Over the years, while my faith in God has grown, my faith in society has been shaken through my interaction with today’s youth.  The other day, my disillusionment was given a “catch phrase” when my friend Karl sent me a DEIDOX movie about a young teacher in the Bronx.  She talked about her mission to reach out to the “worn weathered children who do not trust love” that walk the halls of her school.   That phrase stuck with me because I think it almost perfectly describes an epidemic in today’s society. Why do today’s youth not “trust love?”

The epidemic  is society’s massive misunderstanding and fear of what love really is. In Rob Bell’s video series Nooma, he covers the topic of misunderstood love in the video Flame “We’ll tell somebody we love them, and in the same breath, we’ll talk about how much we love a new car, a certain pair of pants.  I mean I love my wife, and I also love tacos,” asks Bell.

With all these different interpretations of love, isn’t it even more important to teach our kids what love really is?  Is that happening?  Are parents loving their kids, or are they spoiling them?  Are they committed to them, and are they modeling that type of love?

There are three types of love from the original Hebrew. Raya is a friend or companion type of love, someone to hang out with.  Ahava is a love of commitment, dedicating oneself to someone, a lifelong friendship or relationship.  Dod is a physical, sexual love.  We seem to be doing a great job of teaching kids about Raya and Dod, but not Ahava.  Today’s youth seem to have a hard time “trusting in love.”  To them love is fleeting, meteoric and painfully unreliable.  Their platonic friendships are short, their romantic relationships are shorter and, tragically, their parental relationships are unstable.  They rarely have the chance to experience Ahava; to be a part of a long-term committed friendship that survives through thick and thin.  So when I tell my students and youth group kids that I love them, they laugh uncomfortably because they don’t know what platonic, committed love is. They assume is it the swift and painful type of love they are used to, so they become defensive.

Youth (and too many adults) do not understand the concept of Ahava (love of commitment).  They have a hard time trusting that people are willing to commit to them. They have a hard time trusting that people are willing to help them and be there for them.   At the beginning of the year, students will often roll their eyes and giggle.  By the end of the year, many understand why I (and countless others) work with youth.  They understand that most of their teachers and youth leaders do love them, but it takes a whole year (often more).

So I wonder why today’s youth fear love so much?  I wonder why society does such a poor job of modeling love?  I wonder why so many children do not trust love.  And I wonder how we can fix it?  All I do know is that, in the meantime, it is up to me to continue to model God’s love for them; to show them that there is such a thing as a safe, committed love.  And to help them understand that “God so loved the children (world) that He gave His only Son…”

One Love
One God
One Way

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~ by archangel66 on July 6, 2010.

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