Managing Youthful Vigor

My Grandson Benjamin looks out for his Poppi! He started treating me with respect and deference long before he was employed this summer as a part-time “stretch therapist” by the local chiropractor. I like to believe his gentle back rub greeting has been perfected since his clinical experiences of late!

"My favorite tour guide!"

Ben meets people well, loves his family and has numerous close friends. Subsequently, he has become a social magnet for serious discussions, understanding popular culture and is always up for the plain enjoyment of being together. He’s my “go-to guy!” We have enjoyed sharing insights about our current reads with each other while chatting near the bookshelf in his bedroom. Ben likes to read all kinds of literature.

When it comes to movies…there isn’t anyone I’d rather see something special with on the Big Screen at Cinemark or even the Little Screen in the upstairs home theater than Ben! This year we adventured through Black Panther, Mission Impossible, and Barbie together (Yes! Every father of daughters should see this one!). A few years back, it was Jumanji or anything Robin Williams, and even Winnie the Pooh: Christopher Robin! Our best times have been reviewing movies and drawing out life lessons! Ben makes these experiences infinitely better! 

I’m always energized by serious discussions with smart next generation young adults! And when it comes to the threats to creativity emerging with Artificial Intelligence, Ben has an opinion with insight and perspective. For a biology major, he (like his dad before him!) is engaging, protective, creative, and artistic to the core! He sees the world through youthful and hopeful eyes, never prejudging but rather seeing the good in everyone! Who dared to say that today’s youth are aloof, cynical, and self-consumed? You haven’t met my grandson!

Ben is the quintessential tour guide too. He likes to share new things with others. I loved the way he recently led his dad and me on a campus tour of Texas State University where he’ll be honing his craft and refining his interests in the next few years. After only a few days of orientation week, Ben knows the ends and outs! We literally weaved our way up and down stairways and into and through various buildings to cool ourselves and see the sites. We even saw a little of San Marcos’ nearby business district! I love college towns!

Ben had the older guys winded, but we were excited to see the setting for new adventures in learning that are ahead for him! If this eighteen-year-old was ever embarrassed to be hanging out with his seventy-two-year-old grandfather, I never saw a hint of it! That’s what we love about this guy! You can be in his space, get a back rub, and receive some caution and instruction about steps up or down, and have a blast with him over a bowl and burrito at Chipotle! The world stops when I’m with him! It’s the best of times!

There is a surprising word of counsel for young people in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. We often think that this book is generally depressing in tone, but this particular verse is quite hopeful instead. The Teacher, many believe to have been King Solomon in his old age, spoke wisdom to the youth of his day. “You who are young, make the most of your youth. Relish your youthful vigor. Follow the impulses of your heart. If something looks good to you, pursue it. But know also that not just anything goes; you have to answer to God for every last bit of it.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9, MSG).

This wise advice sounds to me like stewarding the youth years. Being young, full of vigor, enthusiasm and dreams requires accountability. Jesus told a parable that had a similar and summary word of wisdom, “Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!” (Luke 12:48). 

I have often heard this prayer about a blessed life, “God bless us so that we can bless others.” Let’s live our lives and teach our youth to live theirs with that sense of stewardship and commitment!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.







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