Author: Juliette McNair | Student, Living Education Charlotte 2020
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 5 seconds.
“If you haven’t noticed already, we’re here to sell you something.”
Mr. Gerald Weston gave the last Living Education forum for the semester. He began by saying Living Education is trying to “sell” a better way of life. This is also the purpose for the Living Youth Programs. Society sells young people all kinds of lifestyles—all, supposedly, equally virtuous. “But,” Mr. Weston said, “God does something that the world doesn’t do. He says, ‘Look, there is a better way—choose that one.’”
“We have traditions here at Living Ed that try to teach a better way of life.”
The decisions students make at Living Ed have a profound effect on the following groups. Mr. Weston explained that through the examples of today, a pattern is set for the students of following years. Likewise, at summer camp, a camper’s children could be attending as campers themselves only 15 years later. Mr. Weston said, “We are looking for young people who understand and internalize our values.” There are certain qualifications needed above and beyond physical skills.
Mr. Weston listed several of those qualifications: Young people who set a good example by their language, social media use, financial responsibilities, and standards of male-female interactions. Mr. Weston explained that the programs discourage young people from pairing off and engaging in intimate physical contact. “We’re not against love,” he said. But there is an appropriate time to be exclusive—there is “a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing… a time to love” (Ecclesiastes 3:5-8). A young person’s example of handling male-female interactions determines their usefulness and trustworthiness in these programs.
“Trust is absolutely essential here at Living Ed and in the Living Youth Programs.”
Trustworthiness is at the core of these qualifications. Mr. Weston said, “If we cannot trust an individual, then we have no basis to work with that individual.” Yet, mistakes are expected. Mr. Weston said, “Mistakes will be made. And that’s okay.” But there’s a difference between honest mistakes and rule violations. He said, “Violations of rules bring loss of trust.”
“When you think about it, what is God looking for in you in this life? It’s trust.” Young people who can be trusted to uphold the traditions and values of the programs of the Living Church of God can be trusted to be good examples for younger teens in their formative years. Then, they become a part of selling the right way of life.
Mr. Weston concluded, “We can sell God’s way of life, but only you can buy it.”
This post is part of our new series of student-written content for LivingEd-Charlotte. These summaries cover topics originally presented by our faculty and guest speakers in our weekly Forum and Assembly. For more Assembly-related content check out our Second Thoughts posts.