One of the most impactful books I read in seminary was Hurt by Chap Clark. The book addressed the world of adolescents who were forced to look to each other for support because adults had abdicated that responsibility. Hurt used examples like Little League, which had been created to support kids and cultivate teamwork, but had been turned into an overly competitive endeavor that hurt kids.
Unfortunately that is as true today as it was when I was in seminary.
Yesterday Jackie Robinson West, the Little League team that had won the US championship, had that championship stripped away. The team’s manager and the team’s district administrator were suspended for falsifying records and boundary maps. The adults basically made a super team, getting all of the best players on one team, even though some of them should have been on other teams based upon where they lived.
What infuriates me about this story is that the kids are the ones who suffer most. I remember watching some of Jackie Robinson West’s games last summer in the Little League World Series. The kids were so excited and they’re smiles were infectious. They had a tremendous experience, which is now tarnished because some adults intentionally broke the rules.
Up to this point of my life I have committed myself to helping teenagers. I love working with young people and seeing them tap into their God-given potential. I can’t imagine taking advantage of them like the adults involved with Jackie Robinson West. Jesus reserved some of his strongest language for those who would lead children astray. And while those adults won’t have a millstone tied around their necks and be thrown into the ocean, I definitely want to make sure I’m nowhere near that kind of behavior.
Children and teenagers need adults who will help guide them toward adulthood. They always have, but somewhere along the way adults abdicated that responsibility to focus on their own needs. We need to take that responsibility back, whether we have kids of our own or not.
Who are some of the adults who helped guide you to adulthood?