I have this set of juice glasses in my house. I have been putting them away in the cabinet a few times a week for three years.
I have a 10 year old boy in my house, too. This is my son recently, just after he solved a chess puzzle he set himself.
Recently, I walked into the kitchen as my son was putting away dishes. He was looking at the inside of the cabinet with a particularly pleased look on his face. Chores don’t normally give him great joy, so I curiously followed his gaze.
There were my juice glasses, which he’d suddenly thought to alternate so they fit together more neatly, taking up less space in the cabinet and sitting more stably. More, they were bringing him (and they’re now bringing me, daily) a sheer aesthetic pleasure not far from the triumph of solving a chess problem.
My memory flashed straight to one of the lines from the Rule of Benedict.
Whenever any important business has to be done
in the monastery,
let the Abbot call together the whole community
and state the matter to be acted upon.
Then, having heard the brethren’s advice,
let him turn the matter over in his own mind
and do what he shall judge to be most expedient.
The reason we have said that all should be called for counsel
is that the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best (RB ch. 3).
So many churches and organizations are interested in reaching out to younger people, and in addition those of us who serve churches professionally are always interested in reaching out to (the mythical) “typical churchgoer.” But we sometimes think of this outreach as if we are marketers, not brothers and sisters. We go out talking, instead of listening.
“Outreach” will never actually reach younger generations, or ordinary churchgoers, until we do so fully believing that the Lord has revealed what is best to those we might not normally think to consult.