This I asked my Dad in the parking lot of a doctor’s office, right before we had to get out of the car and go in for an appointment.
I had wondered this for a while because I’ve been a youth most of my life, and I don’t find myself all that incredible, much less godlike. On American Idol (said the not-current-with-TV guy), there’s an age ceiling in the 20s, isn’t there? And Katy Perry, who looks pretty youthful to me, has already been looking back with nostalgia to her teenage years in “Teenage Dream”.
Why? I kept wondering. What’s so great about these years?
I’m a youth, and I have lots of problems that I hope will improve someday. I look forward to a better adulthood. Why is everyone older than me looking backward?
Back to the parking lot. It should be stated that Dad is more or less used to me giving him strange questions with no context. Usually he gives insightful, long, borderline rambling answers (I come by it honestly, I guess). Here, however, with minutes to my doctor’s appointment, he was forced to be concise.
“Dad, why does America worship youth?”
“Because you give us hope,” he said. “Hope that you won’t screw up as bad as we did.”
I didn’t quite understand at the time. Fuller understanding didn’t come until weeks later. I held my baby sister in my lap. Together we listened to music by “The Rend Collective Experiment”. The baby immediately started bouncing up and down in my lap rhythmically, looking up at me as though to say Isn’t this great?
“Bring Your Kingdom here,” the song says, a prayer that God might through us bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth.
And when I looked into my sister’s eyes that day as she giggled and bounced, somehow, I believed it could happen.