Drought, Fire, Flood and Virus: Why We Should Pray for Young People
By Glyn Henman
The last 12 months have sure thrown up some challenges for all Australians. With soul wrenching drought, the devastation of a record-breaking bush fire season, flooding rains and now COVID-19 and a nation wide lockdown. What are we to make of this time in history? What impact is it having upon our young people? Research will bring some answers to these questions in time, and time itself will show the depth of impact.
But what can we do right now? Let me first reflect on what I am seeing and hearing about what is happening with our teens.
Born in the age of 9-11
This current senior high school cohort were born in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, they entered their schooling during the GFC and now they are facing their final years of education studying from their bedrooms for months.
With this comes the disappointment of not been able to finish well and do all of the ‘last things’ you get to do with your classmates. The last sports carnival, the last school production, the last presentation, not to mention the loss of those key relationships with friends and teachers which so often bring inspiration for who we want to be and what we want to do with our lives. The sense of loss and disruption will linger, even if Australia manages to re-open and keep the Covid-19 cases in check. For teens in middle high school there is confusion and boredom and a sense of ‘why bother’.
Is there any hope? I believe there is. As I reflect on my grandmother’s life, born in the late 19th century, her stories gather new meaning. My grandmother lived her life through two world wars, the Spanish Flu and a technological revolution (think: horse and cart to man walking on the moon). What a resilient and innovative generation! This current generation of young people will also rise. Adversity brings opportunity. Opportunities are taken by those who are open to new things and young people are the most open group among us. It will look different, but there is hope.
Gratitude and seeds of hope
As I listen to my daughters reflect upon this time and how their friends are feeling, the sadness, fear and sense of loss is clear. But they are grateful to have the security of family nearby. They are thankful they can still get an education and they see opportunities in their future. They are hopeful for their friends too because Covid-19 has provided both time and a reason to explore old answers to the big issues of meaning and hope.
Will this generation be as resilient and innovative as my grandparent’s generation? I believe so and time will tell.
So, what can we do right now? We can pray.
Pray that God will be our security, that people will turn to him, seek His face and be protected in troubled times. Psalm 91.
Pray for Jesus to be lifted up so He will draw all of mankind to himself and for us to walk in the light. John 12:30-36.
Pray for the hope and true rest that comes from God. Psalm 62:5-8.
Pray for young people (and their families) in our community as they battle the highs and lows of living during a pandemic; and for clarity and a new vision as opportunities come their way. Isaiah 40:28-31.
Covid 19 Awareness
This document is a guide for Young Life Australia staff and volunteers. We’d like to share it as a source of information for parents, carers and other organisations we work with in partnership.
Young Life Australia is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all staff, volunteers, young people and their families. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 (Novel Coronovirus) and its transmission in the wider community, our commitment is to act responsibly and in line with Health Department guidelines, to look after ourselves and everyone involved in the Young Life network.
- Check your State Health Department website for the latest and reliable updates.
- Protect yourself and others: wash your hands regularly with soap (sing happy birthday to yourself and then rinse), cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Importantly – stay at home if you’re feeling unwell.
- If you develop a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of overseas travel or are in contact with someone else who has COVID-19, seek medical attention: call your GP, Healthdirect on 1800 022 222, or in an emergency, your local hospital emergency department.
- In the event that you believe you have been in close contact with someone who may have been exposed to COVID-19, please ensure that you report to a doctor for testing. Please inform Young Life Australia as well.
- Close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be excluded for 14 days since last contact with the confirmed case.
- Any confirmed case of COVID-19 will be excluded until they are medically cleared to return to work.
Young Life Club Precautions – Instructions for Staff
- Inform parents and young people Young Life Clubs and gatherings have been suspended until further notice from Monday, March 23, 2020.
- Request parents inform Young Life Australia if in the next two weeks they or their child:
- develop a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath or,
- learn they have had close contact with someone who may have been exposed to COVID-19.
- Please retain records of who attended activities just in case we need to inform health authorities in the future.
Young Life Australia will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation and work through the implications of managing the COVID-19 challenge, responding to the relevant Health Department updates as they are announced.
Thank you for your ongoing support with this matter. We will continue to keep you updated.
CEO, Young Life Australia
P: 1300 557 647 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: younglife.org.au