By Susan Lesh
It’s that time of year when things change, particularly for young people. Our son, Ben, just graduated from college and we are going through the transition of not tracking his every move, trying to not be worried when he arrives home very late at night (or morning, sometimes). He is getting on with his life, making life decisions, and we need to let him do that.
We also have had our Sunday School Rites of Passage graduations; you can read more about them in this edition of Focus. I remember our first attendance at a graduation 17 years ago. I was blown away by the young people standing up and delivering presentations that seemed way more mature than my idea of what a 13-year-old would be talking about. I recall thinking, “I want my kids to be able to do that.” I continue to be amazed by the presentations year after year. I’m impressed with the graduates’ poise, their thoughts and ideas, and their willingness to work with a mentor, an unfamiliar adult member, for a year. I’ve been in the role of mentor and it, too, is a rewarding experience. I echo some of the past mentors when they say they’ve learned a lot from the process as well. I feel that I experienced the “bringing out the best in others brings out the best in myself” when I mentored. It was a privilege to be part of these young people’s lives.
When our children went through their Rites of Passage, I was so grateful for their mentors, Ken Hall for Ben and Amy Baker for Rachel. They each brought out Ben and Rachel’s thoughts about their experiences in the Sunday School and helped them to take that step forward and move the teachings into a more active thought process…not an easy thing to do with a 13-year-old. Our mentors and our graduates, however, always take that journey.
Thank you to all the past mentors and Sunday School directors who allowed our young people to find out more about themselves and become the ethical future of the world.
Susan Lesh is president of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.