Youth work memories

Don’t worry I’m not going off-on-one about eighteen years of working with young people ….. this is about memory in general and its relationship to Youth work.
I watched “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” this week. The film is a masterpiece, it’s also disturbing, sad, funny and profound. I don’t want to spoil it for you (stop reading here if you haven’t seen it) but the idea of being able to erase something/someone from our memories is a fascinating one I think ….. and what that would then mean if we could. This led me to quite a bit of reflection about memory, both postive and negative.
I think Memory plays an important part in Youth work!
One of my philosophies when we’re doing youth stuff is “memory making” the act of creating wonderful memories for the future, anything along the lines of “I can’t believe we did that!” or “Hey, do you remember …” I love that stuff, creating memories that are a fusion of fun, people, faith and life (one of the reasons I am such a fan of residentials).
But the flip side is working with young people to “own” stuff that has happened or mistakes they’ve made without these negative memories then restrictively shaping who they are and become. I find it incredible humbling when I’m listening to what some young people have been through and experienced, then even more so by their resilience.
“When your heart’s beset by memories
You wish you’d never made”

Bruce Cockburn
I guess youth work is about helping young people to work through these things and move on, to recognise they still have choices. Youth ministry moves things up a gear, helping young people to experience/practice forgiveness and to discover that God can weave great stuff out of “memories we wish we’d never made (or had)”. Exciting, though often painful stuff.
Creating and redeeming memories!
Worth remembering what a great ministry we’re involved in eh?

One Reply to “Youth work memories”

Comments are closed.