You know what I worried about when I was 9? Not much. I probably wondered if I would be allowed to invite a friend over after school (sometimes) or if I could talk my parents into staying up later than usual (never). I certainly wasn't worried about my future - about what job I would have or where I would live. I mean, I'm sure I thought about those things, but it was more the material of daydreaming than stress causing.
But, I had a conversation with my 9 year old last night and it turns out, she is worried about and does think about these things. I was a little baffled to be honest. We certainly aren't the type of parents who drive our children. We don't fill their heads with the notion that if they don't make the A honor roll they might as well resign themselves to a life of asking "would you like fries with that?" I mean, we expect them to do their best, but I think we're pretty balanced about it.
We were youth pastors for several years when we were first married and I remember being struck even then by the amount of kids who were afraid to graduate. Have you ever heard of such a thing?? My friends and I couldn't wait to graduate! We had the world by the tail and couldn't wait to launch out on our own...
What has changed?
I'm not sure if I have the answer to that question. I do think that kids are under a lot more pressure than they used to be. Is it the schools? Is it the parents? Is it society? Is it that they hear too much about the economy? Is it that they are afraid of war? Natural disasters? Maybe a little of all of it.
But, what I believe, and what I tried to communicate to my daughter last night is that it's all going to work out. Sure, the world has it's challenges, but shoot, atleast we're not in danger of being thrown to the lions like they were a few centuries back. There are problems out there, but there are solutions. There are bad people, but there are great ones too. Sure, money is tight right now, but this is still the land of opportunity. We do have to face fears, but they can be overcome by faith. Our collective glass may often look half empty, unless you choose to notice that is also half full. :)