The best part of working with the chapel is constantly getting to spend time with and learn from young people. Here are a few of the lessons they have taught me recently.

Air time faith –
You can’t talk to Snowmass middle schoolers very long before hearing about air time. Whether it be skiing cliffs, parks or downhill mountain biking this area definitely provides some opportunities to disconnect… from the ground. I tend to prefer my skis and tires firmly affixed to earth, which seems to invite plenty of conversation about best practices in jumping from my middle school friends. The other day one of these wise young people was sharing about the headspace needed to line up and clear one of those bigger jumps in the bike park. He spoke of what it feels like to bring the speed and commitment to the jump without always being able to see the landing. It occurred to me that the joy he found in flying through the air was a byproduct of his faith in the landing. I wonder if our joy in the present is similarly impacted by our faith in “landing” in the grace of a God who loves and cares for us. What does it look like to “send it” in your spiritual life?

What are strangers?
Have you noticed that many little ones have no idea what a stranger is? They make eye contact with anyone they see and wave at anyone they pass. Having a little one around has made me pay much more attention to the life and times of those who crawl and toddle. Just the other day we were sitting down for a snack at a local restaurant. Almost immediately, our daughter began smiling and making eyes at those seated around us. This continued all the way to the point that it was so comical that all the adults started to talk and have lunch together. I love this for many reasons. Can you imagine a world where adults treated each other with that kind of enthusiasm simply because the other was present? Our faith points us towards the truth that all people are intrinsically valuable because they are created and loved. I know this to be true. The kids around us live this to be true.

Whimsy vs Reason
There is definitely a season within childhood (and maybe adolescence as well) where logic doesn’t seem to be the primary lever in decision making. Concepts such as executive function and parts of the brain like the prefrontal cortex have become stable buzzwords for a reason. While I’m sure there will always be times when we wish the young people in our lives used a little more logic, it can also be interesting to imagine what decision paradigms they are using instead. Recently, a student was talking with me about ideas for the future, potential pranks on friends, and ways to show people they cared. As we were talking I noticed a trend. This student’s paradigm for evaluating any of these exploits seemed to be the level of whimsy attained. Many of his ideas for his future or the ways he was dreaming about caring for others were much more whimsical than logical. Sometimes I find myself attempting to make caring for people more efficient or… in a way… more economical. Life seems to make many of us more logical as we go along. We want more with less. However, when I look at the way God cares for us…The great lengths God goes to create beauty and awe in our daily lives… The passion Jesus had for rescuing us… The Holy Spirit’s willingness to show up and live life alongside us… I begin to think that God definitely has a whimsy streak as well. What is something whimsical you could do to show someone you care about them? I dare you.