Here are a few thoughts about my week with MANY young people at the Higher Things Conference in Minneapolis. I will try to make this make sense. One of the quotes that stood out in my mind is from Klemet Preus I believe. He was standing in front of a large group of kids and some chaperones in a classroom. He looked out and made the comment that watching all the young people and their escapades reminded him of his own youth and that his memories were full of many scary times. I know from the rest of his comments that he was referring to the scariness of growing up and feeling your way in the world. I could certainly relate to this comment. I too was staring at many a young person, some I knew and some I didn’t, as they listened intently or not so intently and thought about life at this stage. Thinking back on Valpo days made me remember how desperately I wanted to make my own way and be known for who I was. Sure that sounds selfish but I think that is pretty normal. I know a lot of young people going through the same thing right now and in fact am surrounded by them. It makes sense that most of my friends my age have kids who are in this stage. If I tell my own children that what they are going through is not surprising but normal they have at times thought I meant that when I was young I did not make any such mistakes. Far from it! I say this to them because I do remember. Perhaps I shouldn’t say it at all but I think it is also hard to see my children struggle through and sometimes be disappointed, disillusioned, unrealistic, mad, jealous, etc. We do this too of course but perhaps what is normal for High Schoolers is totally the same AND totally different from 40 year olds or 70 year olds. It made me mad when I was younger for someone to insinuate that they could relate to being my age. I guess we all do this too – “how can this older person remember what it was like to raise kids in this day and age – certainly it must be harder.” Really?????
A Ha-ha memory was Pastor Cwirla’s talk on Baptism and he was musing about how the baby would certainly not display any realization of his baptism and may even cry, scream, spit up, or wet their diaper……” Then there was this male laugh from somewhere in front of me – sort of a solo laugh and I recognized who it was……Pastor Franck! Later he asked me if I was in the Plenary on Baptism and did I hear the part about……”Yes, Rob I heard you laughing” He changed the Pastor Cwirla quote to “and may even pee on their sponsor”. Har har. He is Stefan’s Godfather. Yes, Stefan peed on him. Then…..Rob went on to laugh about how Pastor Stuckwisch later told him that they always kept a diaper on their babies in sort of a thanks for telling me sort of way. . Pastor Stuckwisch encourages (I’m fine with it) the baptizing of babies naked and then ‘clothing them with Christ’ with their baptismal gown afterward or at least symbolically speaking that is what he means. I did think that was pretty cool, but I do remember Rob getting peed upon. So if you heard the laughing at the odd moment that was the reason why.
This is getting long. So……the services were great and reminded me of……Valparaiso University. I knew that was going to be true from Anna’s description from Colorado. Of course at Valpo I don’t remember any explanations for why a person crosses themselves so the worship folder was certainly nice for those not familiar with things. The brass choir in particular reminded me of my horn playing days in the brass choir at Valpo. Those are sweet memories. The director I had at Valpo is now at St. Louis Seminary, Dr. Berght. I would love to play in a brass choir again. Maybe next year I will tote the horn along if I am able to go. Oh, I did find it curious that some turned to face the cross processing out and then turned back to the front even though the cross was still in the back. That was just an observation and not a criticism. Perhaps I will muse some more on the Minneapolis Higher Things Conference. I am certainly very happy for the young people who were able to attend. The speakers certainly put their all into their presentations and I can say that every effort was made to speak to these young people and encourage them in their faith. It is a good thing and I am thankful that there are pastors willing to put forth so much effort.