Wild Children

“Are you a wild child?” Our son turns two in October, and in response to this question, he leans his head back and howls like a wolf, “aaaooooooo.”

I know; it’s adorable. 

This last week on my vacation, I have spent the days with family, watching little ones run around wildly, having nerf gun battles in the living room, and pretending to make an outdoor café with a collection of firewood, pinecones, and rocks. There is something about their innocence, their creativity, their wonder that inspires and awakens something in us that is lost. My son’s response to being a “wild child” is to say this is who I am! I am a wild child! When do we lose that? When do we become more preoccupied with grades, finances, social status, job titles, personality tests, or any of the like and lose sight of the wild child we left behind?

I think Gen Z is stuck in an identity crisis. I mean, let’s be real, they are absolutely trapped by it. But I wonder if it’s more on us as influencers to encouraging them to find their identity.

We emphasize what they want to do and what they want to accomplish but in doing so, do we take away their freedom to express their inner wild child? Do we do a disservice to them in trying to define what path they should take and how they should walk that path instead of just letting them grow into the unique person that God has created them to be?

We have a well-intentioned desire to help them define their identity. But, unfortunately, the world is saying that their identity is theirs for the taking, and sexuality has become the proverbial trump card in this pursuit. Because of this, we as influencers have been quick to rally behind finding their identity in other things, but are we going too far? Do we need to take a step back and look at what Jesus says our identity is in?

I have had multiple conversations recently with people, and God keeps me of this. Jesus said, “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19a). He didn’t say, “follow me and have your whole life figured out, make sure to go out for all these extracurriculars and try all these things, then find your niche and then in that specific situation follow me really, really well.” It’s a simple command. We overcomplicate it.

Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 ESV) As influencers of Gen Z, I think we need to be speaking more about giving them the freedom to be weird, less about trying to identify themselves, showing that we can follow Jesus in whatever we are doing, and helping them really “seek first the kingdom.” Maybe that means being a bit weird, embracing our uniqueness, and howling like the wild child that we are.

Cody Kiwacyzk is the youth pastor at alive church in Tucson, Arizona.

Try Reframe for free!
Get your next message on us!