Prayer #17: High School Musical

My cousin Janine had her theatrical debut tonight as a 'skater dude' in her middle school's stage production of "High School Musical." (Yeah, figure that one out.)

I wrote about this movie a few months back, and my feelings still stand. It's a darling little story, made all the more endearing by its performers' enthusiasm.

Seeing it live was no exception. The kids were equally into it, fueled by the energy of a real audience.

It was all-around good, clean fun. I feel so squeaky that I'm afraid to walk down the hallway and wake my parents ...

Prayer #17: High School Musical

Thank you, Lord, for innocence amidst puberty. It's not an easy time for kids, or for the adults who deal with them.

I sometimes think that rising expectations have made us look at newly-minted teenagers more like adults. This is an unfair and ultimately disappointing perspective. How can they possibly act so mature, when their bodies haven't even stopped erupting yet? We need to cut them some slack.

They're so young, Lord. So full of unabashed energy and gusto. What a delight it was to see kids singing about getting along and being friends ... and BELIEVING it, too! These young performers don't yet have the guile to hide their true feelings. In every number, you saw their precious hearts on the T-shirt sleeves.

Lord, preserve this wide-eyed wonder. Permanently instill the pleasure of achieving a common goal, and receiving the sincere appreciation of peers and adults. Each year will bring more difficult challenges. Help them draw on these positive experiences for the courage and self-esteem needed to go on.

Also, help me remember the ups and downs of this time -- the fashion insecurities, the changing hormones, the thrill of getting my first lines on stage, the friends in class. Keep me sympathetic and understanding even as I move further from that time in my life, so that I may always empathize.

(I don't need more acne, though, Lord. That's a little too much empathy for a young adult.)

Keep today's teenagers close to Your heart. And help me keep them close to mine.

With love -- Amen.