Thursday, September 11, 2003

Hebron Crossroads 9-14-03
by Jeff Gill

Not long ago I was watching, through dark of night, "The Last Picture Show." The Little Guy has taken to regularly waking at 2 am or so, and while he goes back to sleep with some mild tending, the parents do not, often. Hence, movie watching 'til dawn.
If you don't know this movie . . . a young Cybill Shepherd, Peter Bogdanovich directing with Larry McMurtry's script, and Cloris Leachman in an amazing role . . . too many references could throw you, but the title tells most of what you need.
A small Texas town, but still the hub for a vast sweep of ranchland all around, is losing the tiny movie theater on the dying Main Street, and the cinematography in black and white starkly illuminates the desolation most of the residents see, except for a few lucky souls who thrive on the stark beauty and simplicity of their sweeping horizons.
Of course, the young all bemoan how far away "everything worth doing" is, and it would seem hard to argue the point.
What this got me to thinking about, though (and I warned you this was during the wee hours), was how everywhere I've ever lived, I hear youth and parents say that "you have to go away somewhere to find anything to do."
Now, I grew up in a county seat town ten minutes from Lake Michigan and forty minutes from downtown Chicago: OK. In seminary I served a church not five minutes from the center of Indianapolis, and before coming to Hebron pastored in West Virginia, plus service before and in between that spanned those demographics.
In each place, kids said about the same thing: "If I lived in (name of place about an hour away), there'd be more to do. This place is boring." Around all those communites, moms and dads said, "I just wish there was more for kids to do around here, like they have in (place known by TV that is distant, but not too far away)."
It all makes me wonder if boredom is simply a state of mind, an attitude of persons more than a quality of place.
Here in Hebron, we have more going on and more to do every passing day, and there are more homework assignments, more clubs and groups meeting and working even beyond extracurriculars at the school, more options and choices about leisure time activities, and more concern about, well, being bored.
But at the same time I see high school youth volunteering for Ohio Reads, rocking for the Drama Club, working at Hayman's Dairy Bar and Clay's Cafe, stopping atop one of the bike jumps they built themselves at Evans Park and looking long and intently at a flaring, horizon wide sunset, like Ben Johnson leaning on his pickup door. They don't look, sound, or act bored. Tired maybe, but not bored.
I wouldn't quite want to say that being bored is a character flaw, but maybe not being bored is a sign of maturity. Except that small children hardly ever seem to be bored; they find a pile of dirt and three sticks and are rapt in fascination for hours (well, minutes anyhow) at a time.
Perhaps being interested as a person is more like being an interesting person than we like to think. Hebron and the Buckeye Lake region are filled with interest and activity, and it is up to us to make the most of what the Lakewood area has to offer. Boring or interesting: we make the call, we create the reality, for ourselves and others around us.
A group called "Partnerships for Success," working through the county Children and Families First program, is preparing to do another round of what they call "Community Youth Mapping." In this process, youth themselves are trained to go out and interview peers and community members to find out what activities and services for youth and families are available in their area.
Invariably, when the kids get back from a round of doing youth mapping, they are amazed to find out how much is going on around them that they didn't even know was available. Of course, the next step is to help spread that word, and you can count on the Hebron Crossroads to help do just that when the process works through our area.
Next week, I'm looking forward to telling you about our local response on Sept. 11, as we "responded to the call" of Patriot Day, as President Bush has designated the commemoration. There will be interesting stories to share, I'm sure!

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and gets to meet many interesting people through writing for the Booster as well; if you know any interesting folk we'd all enjoy meeting, call Jeff at 928-4066 or e-mail