"I will tell you when you are older," "you are too young to understand," "this is something that you will discover later in life." Every kid grew up hearing some variation of these phrases from their parents, I know I definitely did. Whether it was about politics, finances, trouble in the work place, etcetera.
Eventually I came to understand, along with many others, that as kids, we probably wouldn’t have understood those concepts. However, at 19 years old I have reached a point in my life where I am a junior in college, living two hours away from home, and learning how to balance fun and school. In addition, I am learning how to cook without burning down my apartment and doing my laundry without turning my whites pink, and yet, there is still one concept that still brings around these old phrases: Student religion.
Many kids grow up going to church, temple, mosque, or another house of worship to pray, sing, give money as a sign of thanks and learn about the God associated with their religion. Again, I was one of those kids. I was taught from a young age that I must attend church every Sunday to worship someone who is supposedly incredibly powerful but not physically present on Earth. While obedient and curious to learn, much like other young children, I was being taught messages of God while still being told by my parents, "the message of this scripture will make sense when you are older." After overhearing the revival of this old phrase this past Sunday between a college student and their parents, I believe I speak for them, and many college students by saying, I think we are old enough to make sense of scripture.
Student religion is not uncommon on college campuses today. Many colleges offer undergraduate degrees in religious studies with a place of worship nearby or have their religious affiliation in the name of the school with a place of worship on campus. If colleges and faculty across the nation can acknowledge that some students are old enough and want to professionally learn about and study God, or take time every Sunday to attend a religious service to learn about God, why can’t parents acknowledge this too?
If I have the ability to balance learning about rhetorical theory, develop a professional PR campaign, create surveys for PR Research, and apply organizational culture processes to multiple different cultures five days a week, I believe I have the ability to conceptualize scripture.
Moms and dads, your kids on their religious journeys around this age often aren’t in it alone, but rather they are on a journey with friends that help them decipher the messages of scripture. They also find the religious services they attend at their place of worship to be a time to destress and seek guidance from a higher power. The last thing your kids want is to be told is that they don’t understand the message of the scripture. If you trust us enough that we aren’t going to burn down our apartments or ruin the shirt we might have borrowed from you, then I promise you we are old enough now to understand the scripture guiding our religious journeys. We want God in our lives. We want to learn from Him and about Him and we want to be closer to Him. And we do this through student religion.