Welcoming Young Friends
by Heather Buchan
I’m inspired to write because of an—actually, several—incidents at Summer Sessions. My impression is that many assumptions are made about young Friends. There seems to be a lot of fuss made about welcoming new people into meeting, but not so much about tending to people already here. I want to remind older Friends of that and encourage a little consideration. Maybe the next time Friends wonder why young people “leave the fold” or “don’t step up” we might instead ask if maybe a little prevention, a little more welcoming, might help. What if instead of generalizing “teens are like that” or “kids these days,” Friends can remember a more personal recollection of their own rebellious tendencies. Whether birthright or convinced, all Friends need to seek and answer questions for themselves.
I know this age friction issue is a recurring one; I know some Friends are concerned and are doing things to address this. Here’s my hint of an idea. I was a bit disappointed attending the intergenerational Meal with Meaning at Summer Sessions—sparsely attended! It does seem like a good start though. Bring together people of different ages— what do we have in common? We all eat.
Beth Kelly’s report is also echoing in my mind. She’s the Children, Youth, and Young Adult (CYYA) Community Director, and she reminded Friends how important it is to make time to simply have fun. I wonder if that could be built on and expanded.
Friends of all ages have things in common beyond food. Perhaps we could come together to generate a few random acts. A Friend in our meeting makes mini-quilts and displays them in random public places. Perhaps that’s a model for a collaborative project for all ages. Personally, I like randomness and creativity, but Friends who are more interested in directed Social Action could come up with their own collaborative, multi-generational projects for their meetings.