Ecclesiastes 12:1 says, "Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, 'I have no pleasure in them.'" My wife read me this verse tonight because she wants to put it up in her classroom as a reminder to her students to always remember God's presence in their lives. As I thought about this verse, I reflected back to my days a middle school student (something I do quite frequently now that I am teaching middle school) and I came to this conclusion: students, both middle school and high school students, need to be reminded as much as (if not more than) anyone of God's presence in their lives.
Looking at the verse from Ecclesiastes, it is apparent that this verse was intended for young adults and children based off of the phrase "in the days of your youth." The first part of the verse ("Remember also your Creator") is a universal command that can be directed towards all people of any age group. However, it is the rest of the verse that speak directly to young people in a way that they may not realize.
I remember my days back in middle school with a mixture of feelings. I cannot say I look back on those days fondly, but I also cannot say they were the worst years of my life. What I can say with certainty is that even though I knew about Jesus and had what I thought to be a good relationship with Him, I did not fully understand His role in what was happening around me. Nor did I understand that I would one day be looking back on my life with an entirely different perspective than what I had. In short, I was living in the moment. In the same way, I notice many of my students with a similar disposition. They know about Jesus, believe in Him as their Savior, but do not fully understand His role in their lives. They may think they do, but their actions and attitudes seemingly prove otherwise (I say this, of course, knowing full well that I cannot really say for certainty what is truly in their heart; I am speaking merely from outside observation. God alone knows what their beliefs and thoughts are).
These reflections about my past and observations of my current students force me to think of the latter part of the verse above: "before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, 'I have no pleasure in them.'" As adults, we should be constantly looking towards the future, at times with hope but most of the time with worry and dismay (even though Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worrying about itself). Some of this worry is founded in selfish pursuits such as wealth and prosperity. However, some of us look to the future with worry, not because we are worried about ourselves per say, but rather for the morality of the world we live in. In a culture that seemingly becomes more immoral every passing day, we can say along with the King Solomon, "I have no pleasure in them [these present days]."
My students, though, do not seem to see the evil. They generally know when things are wrong, but they do not always understand the lasting effects of wrong-doing. My students, along with many adults in American culture, live for the present with no thought for how present actions can affect their future. The fact of the matter is that things done and said today can have major repercussions later. It is because of this that students need to be reminded of God's presence in their lives right now. He can lead them to make good decisions, decisions that will lead to blessings later. If we, by the power of the Holy Spirit, can help students realize this, then they can perhaps find a more cheerful future.