You who are young, be happy while you are young,
    and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.​
There are many challenges that young people face during the critical development years. Knowing that emphasizes the importance of a stable home environment and faith-based support network. Parents alone cannot do it all. I believe strongly in mentoring and I had some good experiences with mentors in the past. Through these friendships I learned to recognize the importance of relationships and meaningful conversation. I cherish these memories and there is something that I learned from one of my mentors that has stuck with me. Young people often see things in black and white. That way of thinking and the pressure for academic achievement results in high rates of teenage suicide in Japan. Closer to home we have that same problem in our communities. An important part of transitioning to adulthood is learning to recognize the grey areas. If someone does not get accepted into an Ivy League school their lives are not necessarily doomed for failure. 
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Adolescence who don’t learn to recognize the gray areas end up narrow minded and resistant to change. Sometimes they cannot recognize God’s larger purpose for their lives. If they don’t get it by middle age, chances are they never will. A good youth worker will help young people broaden their world view and leave their students in better condition than they found them. Faith-based mentoring and spiritual formation are an important part of the development process. One on one time can be as simple as building a birdhouse together. ​
Bio: Dave Baker works at Baker Book House where he is responsible for School Accounts and Diversity Initiatives.