Strengthening our youth is a hot topic among religious leaders today. "Why are we losing them?" parents and leaders ask. "What can we do for our young people to help them feel connected?" BYU professor David Dollahite and master's student Emily Layton have proposed some answers. In their newly reported study asking young folks from 10-20 open-ended questions about why their faith made a difference in their lives, Dollahite and Layton found that connections with parents, Church leaders and the traditions in their religious practice were an anchor for them, even when the connection didn't seem particularly religious.
In my last post I wrote about the connection I have felt to my family tradition of reunions. I believe that when young people have the opportunity to connect with their past, when they know something of their ancestors and their stories, this also serves to bolster their family's faith traditions. When I know something about my family, I know something about me. When my love for family history is fostered, my love for myself is also nurtured. My name and my heritage gain importance and I am strengthened. I'm hoping the same is true for the young people in my family. I write and I publish for them. The books are generally sold to the older generation, but the heart of my work is bound to the hearts of the youth. It's for you, kids.