Notes for Leaders
Y.C.W. – Where it begins
The day has finally come in your life – you have left school. Perhaps it is the end of the year; perhaps you passed that exam; perhaps you finally conned your parents into agreeing; perhaps the school gently suggested that it was time – it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you have finished being a student. You are starting a whole new life – the real life.
You will get a job of course – and there will be new people to meet and get along with – and you will have to prove that you are not really that green and inexperienced.
Or perhaps you won’t be able to find a job – after all there is a lot of unemployment around. But anyway you will have some money to play around with because at least you will get unemployment benefits.
The freedom too – that will be great. A new set of relationships – you are an adult now and parents will treat you differently. Also the opposite sex – you’re not just a student any more – you have left school. More places to go – more money to spend – more freedom to decide. You have a new importance.
Most of you who read these pages will have had the experience of leaving school – and for most of you it meant at least some of the things spoken of above. It would be good if you could stop for a moment and reflect on what leaving school meant to you and what were your attitudes at the time.
Leaving school is one of the death/resurrection times of our life – it is an end of something and a new beginning. Our lives are full of such experiences. Being born is one of them. Psychologists tell us that leaving the warmth and security of the womb is the greatest trauma of our life. Another such experience occurred when we went to school – it was an end of one period of life and a new beginning.
Getting married, leaving home and starting a new home will be another such experience. And of course dying will be one final such experience.
Leaving school also presents us with such a wide variety of choices in a very wide variety of different things. What sort of job will you get? What sort of worker will you be? What sort of attitude will you take at work and with your fellow workers? What sort of clothes will you wear? What sort of friends will you make? What sort of crowd will you hang round with? What sort of social life will you lead? What sort of attitude will you take concerning booze, drugs, sex, smoking, religion, authority, parents, etc. etc. What sort of attitude will you have concerning money and saving?
Some people seem to just let life happen to them. They don’t make decisions about things like the above questions. They just drift into one way or the other according as the people around them move. This seems to me to be a pity. Because you are an individual – there is no one else just like you. Besides you will only ever have one life to live why let others live it for you?
There are some people who realise the tremendous importance of this period of their lives. They don’t want to be told the “right” answers to the questions outlined above because they realise that they are individuals and have to make their own decisions. But they would like some support and motivation in living what they believe – they would like a group where they can express their opinions without being thought to be “heavy.”
Many young people have found such a group in their local Y.C.W. Most Y.C.W. groups are not very large – about 8-20 people. They are not run by anyone outside the group. Just one of the group is asked to be President by the group. They seem to be a place where any young person is welcomed.
The members are friends to one another. They go out together to socials and cabarets. They sit down and discuss a gospel or something about religion. But mainly they seem to do whatever the members want. Somehow the spirit of the group seems to be that everyone is important and anything that anyone really wants to do or talk about is important to all the members.