PART 4: STEPPING FORWARD
I remember well a line from Bleach, a popular Japanese manga/anime. In one scene, Kurosaki Ichigo, the hero of the story, criticized his opponent:
“You know why big brothers are born first? To protect the little ones that come after them.”
Just because we stopped being a youth leader doesn’t mean our part in the youth ministry ended. Wrong. Like I always shared with other leaders, we need to remember that the church is just like a big family. Everyone is connected. Everyone has a function. Everyone has a role. Let me give this simple diagram: Children grow into youth. Youth grow into young adults. Young adults get married, or just get older. Some married couples produce children.
Young adulthood is the crossroad. Young adults understand the culture of the youth, and their parents as well. Young adults can have the professional skill and experience to develop a better curriculum for children, to which they can train the youth who wants to be Sunday school teachers. Most young adults will eventually (or hopefully) end up in the couples ministry. Young adults have the financial income to support other ministries like music, media, sports, etc. Young adults still have the vigor of youth, yet the temperance of adulthood. Young adults can appreciate the wisdom of the elderly – which we often scoffed at when we were younger. And young adults stand at the economic, corporate, political and social crossroads of the community.
Being a kuya or an ate in the family, especially for us Filipinos, is a big deal. Are we paving the way for the next generation, lest they fall into harm along their course? Are we braving the unknown paths so that those who come after us will not get lost? Are we stoking the fire, sharing our own passions to those whose embers are growing cold? Are we listening to the lessons of those who came before us, learning them, so that we can pass it along to those who are next in line? (Heh. That reminds me of an old song. I am old.)
What does it mean to be a kuya or ate?
If you are a youth, I hope that someday you can proudly stand up and claim that it means you.
And if you are a young adult: hello kuyate!