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Young people and senior citizens

I was struck quite recently, as a very amateur military historian, by the death of the only two surviving ‘Tommies’ with eye-witness accounts of the 1914-18 war.

Youth Leaders Dave Fenton

For as long as they both had strength, they loved to visit schools and talk to children about the things they had seen. One of them majored on the theme of peace and reconciliation and children were fascinated by his experiences and listened, perhaps because they spoke with eye-witness authority. Young people will listen to senior citizens — indeed, the Bible seems to tell us that this is the way faith is passed on from one generation to the next (Psalm 78.4). I am not basing a theology of youth work on two old soldiers, but I have begun to wonder about the way we select and train those who work with young people.