My seventeen-year-old daughter went to the movies a few weeks ago with some friends. On the way home, she and her friends stopped at a gas station for a snack. They were just in time to witness a tragedy.
A youth was running down the street toward the perceived safety of the station-- with a crowd of twenty or so other youths in pursuit. One of the youths had a gun, which he began randomly firing.
My daughter's friends scattered. Some ran behind the building, others jumped into cars. My daughter could not get inside the car without moving within range of the shooter, so she dove under her friend’s car.
The youth avoided the bullets, but another youth took him down with a broken bottle. Calls the next day confirmed that the youth died on the spot. Thankfully, my daughter looked away before blood was spilled. She didn't witness the life flowing out of a youth about her age. Her friends were not fare as well. They watched in horror as the violence reached its vortex and a young man died. They came back to my house and sat ashen faced, speaking in quiet voices. One of them threw up in my backyard.
Our children live in a violent society. Our neighborhood is in a low crime area. We are in the "Bible-belt." Yet, our children witnessed the murder of a peer in cold blood.
Every day, I pray, God help our youth--the true "national treasure." That is why I write books like Quest for the Other Kingdom: The First Book of Journeys, and the sequels that are in process. I cannot ignore the condition of the society that our youth have to deal with every day. Violence, immorality, and confusion abound. Many young people want to live good lives, they want to do the "right thing' but have no moral grounding upon which to base their decisions. Others know what to do but have few role models to encourage them to do it. Some make right choices most of the time, and do their best to live lives of integrity, going against the flow without judging others who are caught up in the rapids of depravity or stuck in the depths of despair.
Young people need a moral compass. Most of them want it. We must not abandon the generation that is coming of age in this decade. God help us if we do!