I spent last Saturday in a workshop with an awesome group of about 75 youth ministers from the St. Louis archdiocese. It was wonderful to meet some who are alums of Ursuline Academy, St. Louis, and others I knew from Busy Student Retreats at universities. All are helping teens and young adults to ignite the fire of following Jesus.
One speaker, Sarah Swafford, gave an outstanding talk called “Engaging the Screenager.” Sarah has extensive experience working with college freshmen and listening to their concerns and needs. Referring to what she calls the “80-20 problem,” she shared the questions that single women and men typically worry about 80% of the time: Who am I going to date and eventually marry? What is he or she going to do for me and how is he or she going to make me feel? How good can I look doing it? Being consumed with these questions, she pointed out, leaves little room for reflecting on life’s most important questions.
“What would happen,” she asked, “if we took the 80-20 problem and flipped it around?” What if people spent 80% of their time asking the big questions: Who do I want to be? What am I living for? Who am I living for?
As one who tries to teach the importance of discernment in making life-choices, I thought she was spot on. Young adults need to hear this message and be freed to spend their energy on deeper questions. Take a look at Sarah’s website to learn more about her insights and the book she’s written.