What has surprised me in my retirement is how much I miss relating to young people. For forty years, I taught confirmation classes, worked with youth groups, and made sure I paid as much attention to children and young adults as I did to mature adults and the elderly in my congregations. A week didn't go by that I didn't have a number of significant interactions with young people.
And as a Scout leader, I had even more contact with children and youth. I had multiple roles in three units in my last appointment: I was Treasurer of the Cub Pack, an Assistant Scoutmaster in the Troop, and Crew Advisor, as well as being Chaplain for all three units. I spent a lot of time talking with kids, doing things with kids, listening to kids do what kids do. But when I left my last appointment, I left leadership of all three of those units, since I couldn't ethically hang onto leadership positions in the ministries of a parish I was leaving. So, for the first time in over twenty years, I have no regular weekly meeting of any group of Scouts to attend.
Well, we still go to church, and I'm still a volunteer in Scouting, but it's weird. It's like I've got a massive case of Empty Nest Syndrome. I miss the hubbub. I miss their smiles and enthusiasm. I miss having young people as a regular part of my menu of relationships.
It makes me feel . . . old.