I have the great privilege of working with a group of young women ages 12-18 in my church. I have grown to love them dearly, and weekly enjoy their exuberant youthful-isms. A few of them have permitted me into their social circles of life as well. Technology is so liberating, I can attend lunchroom socials, fast food gatherings after a sporting event, concerts and bus rides without even going anywhere! It truly is amazing the many places I can go to with just the touch of a screen.
With this idea in mind, I began to look around at my group of girls. I could only imagine the places and events they attend. Due to my age and station in life, comparatively, I have only been permitted to just a few of these events with just a few of my girls. Still, there is a sense of joy of being accepted, even if by only a few. What fun things we get to do together.
Virtual life over. I am back home now cooking and cleaning, taking care of children, running errands. Hmm...virtual life is much more fun, I think I'll go back. Click...
I hope you can see the humor in this story. I am not so UN-grounded in life that my sense of joy is as fleeting as with the click of a button. The point I wish to make with today's post is that many are, as many should be due to their age and lack of experience. As a leader of the precious young women I spoke of, I have noticed an increase in depression for some of our girls. Speaking with others, I am not alone in this awareness. I wonder if this depression stems from difficulty in separating the emotions that come from virtual experiences and the emotions that come with real life experiences. To the young people, they are not separate. Their life realities coincide with their virtual realities. In a time of life where they are just mere babes in learning who they are and what they are capable of, their foundation to build their life on is not yet dry. They are freshly poured, not yet cured with years of experience. Is it any wonder then that so many of them have attached their happiness and joy in life to the simple click of a button.
These ideas and concerns all came to mind this week as I was reading in 2 Nephi chapter nine. In verse 51 we are counseled: "Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.
... remember the words of your God; pray unto him continually by day, and give thanks unto his holy name by night. Let your hearts rejoice."
With so much available at the fingertips of our young people... so many friends, so many good ideas, so many fun places to go, so many possible projects, so many funny quotes and humorous images... it does not surprise me that the realities of their life are quite dissatisfying.
Unfortunately, age does not give immunity to these feeling of apathy and lack of life satisfaction. All must be watchful or can fall as prey. The technologies given us are full of so many good things. We must keep our foundations strong and grounded by daily seeking Jesus Christ, feasting upon the word of God, and continually giving thanks by day and by night. This will enable us to have enjoyment of both worlds, virtual and real. Then we can in turn, teach our young people where to look for and experience that which is of great worth, and is satisfying to the soul.