to be 16, invincible and yet terrified

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by Wanda Kidd, CBFNC Collegiate Engagement Coordinator

It would be a mistake to underestimate the voices of these high schoolers who are passionately speaking with fervor and purpose. They are not Millennials. They are the beginning of a new generation that does not even have a set name yet. Many call them Gen Z, but we do not know much about them because we do not usually write about a generation until they reach the business world and then their characteristics impact the bottom line.

We will not get to wait that long to feel their impact this time.

They are the children of Gen Xers who were the first latchkey kids and felt like they were not heard when they tried to express their frustration and sense of isolation and loneliness. Therefore, their children have been equipped and prepared to express themselves to anyone who did not value their ideas and opinions. They have been preparing for this their whole life. The goal of all parents, but particularly these parents, is to keep their children safe and provide them with every opportunity to be happy.

So, this event that robbed them of both a sense of security and a hope for happiness, galvanized them into action. It has also, driven their parents and all of the other adults who have been traumatized by both the events and their sense of failing them, into action.

These parents and adults will ride on buses, drive them across the country and allow them to be suspended from any school that threatens them with retaliation for action. So, do not think this is a flash in the pan. Anyone who has had them in class, in youth group or in your family, knows that they are tenacious and relentless when they feel violated.

Pray for them, nurture them and give them a place to sit down when they are tired and pray that they do not become so jaded they abandon hope when it all does not go their way. May we live into grace when they seem arrogant and absolute and remember what it felt like to be 16, invincible and yet terrified.

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