Teen idol

Today I’ll not debate whether baccalaureate services at public high schools violate the separation of church and state, and whether certain people ought or ought not speak or pray at such, and under which terms. Today I celebrate one such service, because it embodied a principle I’ve often noticed and wanted to address.

If you want to satisfy the hunger that teenagers, to the surprise of much of adult America, tell polltakers they have for role models, do not give them presidents, rock stars or even athletes. If you listen carefully, you will overhear them lauding and see them imitating certain volunteer youth counselors at church or--and I’ve sometimes tossed this off rather lightly--“the custodian who sweeps the halls and chats with them at high school.”

Now friends have passed on to me a clip from the Sun (May 27), a west suburban Chicago paper, which reports: “Teens choose beloved janitor as their baccalaureate speaker.”


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