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Here Come the Young

Time for the holidays!

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To encourage us to consider positive and active ways in which we can use the summer holidays.

Preparation and materials

  • None required.


Leader: Theyre getting ready for you!

Pause to allow time for thought.

Leader: At swimming pools and beaches across Europe, the lifeguards are limbering up. The ice-cream stalls have their latest choices of flavours ready to sample. The soft-drink vending machines are fully stocked. Tennis courts, crazy golf courses and Go Ape constructions have been safety-checked and all of the equipment is neatly laid out. Campsites have been repainted and pitches mowed. Fairgrounds, theme parks, zoos and arcades - theyre open and waiting.


Pause to allow time for thought.

Because youre about to be released. The young are on the move. School is almost out for summer!

To tell you the truth, theres a mixed reaction in the community to this situation. For many small businesses that make their profits largely during the holiday season, there is huge anticipation of your arrival. They can see the money burning a hole in your pockets and they are hoping to make a good profit! For other businesses that are concerned with risk avoidance, safety and crowd control, its the start of a time of increased pressure, trying to balance youthful exuberance, risk-taking and good humour with a touch of common sense. For parents, holidays can entail more organizing, more transport, more shelling out of money. All because the young are on the move!

Many adults envy the young. They envy their energy, optimism, spontaneity and joie de vivre. Many adults wish that they were young again. One day, all of the students present will probably find themselves wishing that they were young again!

So, whats so special about being young?

First, let’s look at a few negatives.

Teenage years can be times of frustration. We may get frustrated at the narrow views of older people. Young people often have open, tolerant minds and hearts. They are willing to accept newcomers, to give them a chance to show what they are worth.

Sometimes, young people can feel frustrated at the slow process of change, especially when the change seems so obvious. Bureaucracy and jobsworths so easily get in the way of progress.

Sometimes, young people can get frustrated at the mixture of lies and half-truths that are peddled in the media by people whose main interest is profit and power. It would be tempting to feel powerless in situations like these.

Teenage years can also be times of anger. The right kind of anger - anger at the injustice of the world in which we live and the bigotry and racism that divides communities.

Sometimes, young people can get cross about the lack of progress in addressing the environmental issues in the world. They are aware that today’s choices will affect them in the future.

However, teenage years can also be a time of great opportunity.

As students, it’s easy to feel under pressure with all the work that we have to do. However, we should be making the most of free time! A time is coming when there will be much more responsibility for many of us: work, earning money, having a family . . .

Many of you are fairly free from responsibilities. Many of you are free from the pressure to work to pay the bills. Many of you are free from the pressure to fit a busy life into too short a time.

You have the freedom to explore, whether this be in terms of relationships, activities, travel or many other opportunities.

Finally, youre free to contribute, particularly during the next six or so weeks.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Time for reflection

If we are so energetic, motivated and, above all else, free for at least some of the next six weeks, what might we be able to contribute to the community in which we live?

There are, for instance, lots of volunteering opportunities that we could get involved in. There are care homes where residents would be pleased to have a chat with someone younger; hospitals and lunch clubs where an extra pair of hands and a friendly face would be so welcomed. There are charity shops, animal rescue centres and food banks where there are always plenty of practical jobs. Have a look at the local press and notices around town – you never know what you might find!

If that sounds a bit daunting, or if youre too young, why not start closer to home? Earlier, we spoke about many of you being free from responsibilities and the pressures of time and work. The truth is that some of you here are not quite so free. Some of you do have responsibilities. You are under pressure to fit in a social life and time with your friends because life is sometimes tough, with responsibilities that many people your age don’t really understand.

What if we look around and see whether our friends or neighbours need some help?

What about your friend who cares for their mum, dad or other family member? Think about it, those of you who are free. It would mean so much to your friend if you offered to help, to share the load.

What about within your family, too? Could you take some of the pressure off people very close to you? Could you deliberately practise displaying a different attitude? Think about it, those of you who are free.

Six weeks.

Enjoy it.

Use it.

Share it.

Itll be over before you know it.

So, I think all that remains is for me to say, ‘Happy holidays!’

Dear Lord,
Thank you for holidays.
Remind us of all the opportunities before us.
Help us to use our time wisely.
Help us to see the needs of others and be moved into action.


‘Here come the young’ by Martyn Joseph, available at: (4.01 minutes long)

‘What time is it? from the film High School Musical 2, available at: (3.39 minutes long)

Publication date: July 2019   (Vol.21 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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