It was the end of June when a 27 year old Brazilian referee in an amateur game pulled a 20 year old soccer player from the field. The player not liking the call got in the ref’s face. Reports say the two got into a fist fight which ended with the referee stabbing the player. As the player is rushed to the hospital in critical condition friends and family bombard the field. They tie the ref up, stone him to death, quarter his body, and behead him. The scene ends with the crowd putting his head literally on a stake and posting it in the middle of the pitch. Don’t believe me read the rest of the story here.
My first reaction was, “This could still happen?” The reaction of my students as we talked about it was, “Oh, that stuff still happens, just not here.” It is too distant for it to truly affect them. Still I’m not sure if I am haunted more by the horror of this action, or the apathy in which my youth have reacted. I am wondering if we are all so desensitized that a double murder that ends with a head literally on a stake isn’t sensational enough to grab our attention? Awful acts happen everyday. Movies, television, video games and of course the internet bombard us with so much information we think we’ve seen it all.
So how do we begin to attack this apathy?
Just this week I had the opportunity to hang out with one of my students one on one. As I went to go pick her up, I sat in her living room talking to her Dad as she finished getting ready. What struck me was the importance of engaging the whole family. Spending time with her she admitted some struggles that would not have come out in any other setting. Just waiting for her gave me the opportunity to learn more about her family.
Are we showing our students the vision of what God intends? Are we reminding them they are called to more than the mundane of apathy? Encourage your students to still hurt for this hurting world around them. Encourage them to pay attention to what is going into their eyes, ears, head and heart. This story in Brazil, as well as the others in their backyard, should bother us all deeply.
We can’t raise a generation on our own. If we are going to help students see the world differently it takes a village as they say. I think of the team of young men and women who have traveled from across the country to serve in our inner city day camps this week. Today one of the leaders shared,”I loved the way we taught each other this week. It was a picture of the Body of Christ as we all grew as a result of this.” The teens from Colorado and New York were changed as other adults poured into them. The youth of our ministry saw again that truth is truth.
This story continues to rattle me. The fact that things so awful are still happening all around us, and that we barely notice is bothersome. However, if we work together I do believe we can raise a generation that’s different.
What are you doing to help with the nonchalant attitude of your students?