Why do so many young people today have the blah's? Why are so many TURNED OFF? Why do they DROP OUT? Should life be so BORING for young people? Is there any REAL ADVENTURE left to be had in our times? Or are the only adventures left in our society found in sex, drugs and violence? If you're under thirty — in age or spirit — you'd better read this article!
ADVENTURE! Challenge! Trailblazing! Conquest! New horizons! These action-packed words have stirred generations of young people the world over! Youth has always been keenly responsive to the challenge of adventure, eager to tackle new and more demanding obstacles, anxious to do what has yet been undone by "the older generation." Countless tales of courage, heroism, exploration, discovery, and rugged adventure attest to this fact. But is this vital commodity of youth changing today? Are young people today losing the spirit of adventure? It depends upon what kind of "adventure" you mean! Mind-bending drugs and jaded sexual exploits are "adventure" enough for many youths today. For others "adventure" is to be found in the revolutionary political arena — a Molotov cocktail in one hand, the writings of Lenin, Marx or Mao in the other! But is that "the real thing"? Or will these prove in time to be phony substitutes for the deeply satisfying pursuits and accomplishments that others, in other times and better days, have tasted? Come on! If you're young and you're alive and you think you can take a challenge, take this one! Challenge yourself! Do YOU HAVE THE SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE?
"Adventure" — What Is It?
Listen to what Maurice Herzog, the gallant young Frenchman who led the successful 1950 expedition to the top of 26,492-foot Annapurna, writes about adventure: "As life has grown progressively easier over the centuries, with adventure disappearing from the face of the earth, man's physical organism has protested. Society's solution is sport. It is notable that sports have developed most brilliantly in advanced societies. Sport has no meaning when daily life provides its parallel. "For the ultimate stage of our comfort-keyed civilization, man will doubt-less sustain himself by consuming a variety of little pills. But just as swallowing nourishment through pills will never entirely supplant gourmandizing and the pleasures of the table, so sport will never abolish a thirst for natural activity without training manuals or tricks. And the solution is not a supersport [like American football, basketball, baseball? ]. The solution is adventure — adventure in which a man's total energies and all his physical and mental resources, are involved. In adventure, muscles, nerves, instincts, reflexes, even brains — in a word, the entire man — me taxed to the full" (Man Against Nature, collected and edited by Charles Neider, "Adventure — The Unending Challenge," Maurice Herzog, p. xi, emphasis mine throughout). Here, with clear reasoning, this world-famous mountaineer exemplifies the need for man to be challenged, to be alert, alive and active — not sedentary, placid, and passive!
A Little World
Face it! For most people today what was once "the big, wide world" has become "the little world." You know what I mean? Today it's the little world in front of the TV set. The little world of a narrow, big-city street. The little world inside the little house, or the little car or the little classroom! "Where's it at?" youth wants to know. They're not finding it in the little worlds they were born into — and have not yet escaped from. Not only is it a little world, with narrow horizons, it's also a soft world, an indoor world — or if outdoors, a smog-choked, noise-polluted, deadly dull and boring world! Are there any true challenges left? Or have we passed the last frontier? What's it going to be from here on out? Just more of the same until there's standing room only? Will the "adventures" of Tomorrow's World be about as thrilling as waiting for a bus, or punching a clock, or sitting stalled in a traffic jam? No, fortunately a much better world awaits you — IF you do your part today! Tomorrow's World will need young men and women with rugged stamina and courage. They will have to face some of the greatest challenges the world has ever seen! Tomorrow's lenders won't be the kind of people who can only sedately reflect on the problem, pose alternatives, or pass the buck. They will have to DO SOMETHING! The stress will be on dynamic action, not another "blue ribbon committee" to study the problem! Recognizing the need for this kind of active leadership, what can you do to prepare yourself for facing tomorrow's problems and challenges? How can you respond to the call of adventure today and be prepared to meet it head-on tomorrow?
Be Active, Not Passive!
The proper functioning of your mind depends in large measure on right use of your body! Learn to use your God-given arms and legs as your Creator intended. This means exercise! It means vigorous, hard WORK. This is one of the biggest problems of youth today — too little work and exercise. That's why so many are soft and flatulent — and plainly effeminate! The book of Proverbs is full of exhortations to learn to labor productively with your hands as a prime means to diligence in life. Young men and women are to learn to work willingly with their hands. The Proverbs speak of the lazy man whose hands refuse to labor (Prov. 21:25), and who becomes so lazy he can hardly bring his food to his mouth (19:24)! The legs need exercising, too. Walking anywhere today is almost unheard of! Machines must take us everywhere we go, but they rob us of much-needed exercise. Develop a love of walking, running, hiking. Swimming is also a fine form of exercise. Learn to walk erectly, breathe deeply, and feel your body respond to pour commands. This is a vital part of becoming an notice person! Don't sit on the sidelines, watch from the bleachers, or lie sprawled in front of the TV set. Get in there and participate! Every young person should know a number of team sports and be able to play them fairly well. These might include baseball, basketball, volleyball, touch and flag football. He should learn some of the individual sports, too, like tennis, golf, handball, squash, racquetball and those taught in track and field. Even a fair level of accomplishment in these areas will bring you enormous satisfaction in life — in the form of a healthy body and alert mind, in learning the lessons of good sportsmanship and teamwork, plus the personal qualities of drive, determination, endurance, training, etc. Be active! Develop your skills! Learn to play fairly and courageously. All this stimulates the spirit of adventure and develops the whole man!
Develop a Love of the Outdoors!
When Almighty God completed His marvelous physical creation, He "saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good"! (Gen. 1:31.) Indeed it was — and still is! Granted, man has done a lot to pollute what He made perfect and pure, but there is still much to see, experience, behold, and appreciate. Forests and woodlands are "very good." They hold fascinating sights, sounds, and secrets. Mountains, high and low, new or old, rugged or smooth are marvelous — bigger than man, beyond his ability to completely defile or ''conquer.'' Upward they beckon with their forested slopes, cascading streams, and breathtaking views. The sea and its shore are also "very good." They too are big and awe-inspiring. Their forms of life are seemingly endless — water birds, fish (large and small), clams and crabs, lobsters and sea lions. All part of the truly "great outdoors." So are the vast, windswept Great Plains. Here are other forms of life and very beautiful scenes, Upland game birds, prairie dogs, antelope and deer, often against a backdrop of shimmering seas of golden grain. No matter where you may live, there is a part of God's outdoor world available to you! By simply putting forth a little effort, even big-city dwellers can escape the concrete jungles of man's making to the much more beautiful, peaceful, and inspiring world that God made! You don't have to stay penned in and bound to a modern megalopolis! You can start by getting a map of your home state. State and national park systems publish excellent, free maps and brochures. Even oil company highway maps show special points of interest, parks, recreational areas, etc. Libraries are full of such publications. Many bookstores have a special section for maps and travel guides. You should have no trouble finding out where to go. Some imagination and ingenuity will turn up the way. Most youths today have access to cars. Many have a car of their own. Others have motor bikes. Bicycles still provide good exercise and transportation, but should be used on less heavily trafficked roads. But you don't have to go places all by yourself! Thoughtful parents should take the lead in such outings! But whatever you do, don't make the mistake of thinking that if you were born in or now must live in a crowded, nerve-jangling, people-choked city, you are forever doomed to your fate. You can — and must — get out occasionally — to preserve a balanced, sane, and healthy view of life and the world around you! You need to be outdoors to develop a love of the outdoors!
Christ the Outdoor Man
Never forget that Jesus Christ was — and is today — the greatest naturalist, conservationist, and outdoor man of all time! Notice what Bruce Barton writes in his book The Man Nobody Knows (The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc., New York, 1962, p. 43) : "All His days were spent in the open air. . . on the Sabbath He was in the synagogue because that was where the people were gathered, but by far the greater part of His teaching was done on the shores of His lake, or in the cool recesses of the hills. He walked constantly from village to village, His face was tanned by the sun and wind. Even at night He slept outdoors when He could — turning His back on the hot walls of the city and slipping away into the healthful freshness of the Mount of Olives. He was an energetic outdoor man. The vigorous activities of His days gave His nerves the strength of steel." Mr. Barton gives us an accurate and fresh perspective on the true Jesus Christ! He did not come as a soft, pedantic, effeminate teacher of nice sayings and platitudes. He came as a MAN!! — a rugged outdoorsman who could lead other equally rugged and masculine men like Peter, a commercial fisherman. Men like Peter would never have followed the so-called "Jesus" the artists have portrayed for us — a "man" who looks as if he never saw the light of day! Let's follow the example of the greatest man who ever lived and who set us a perfect example! Let's develop the same kind of love for the outdoors He had and has today! The same kind of vigorous activities will prepare us for the challenges of His wonderful World Tomorrow!
Keep It Safe and Sane!
If you develop an active and energetic mind and body and a love for the outdoors, this next step comes logically — you will naturally want to seek out SAFE AND SANE challenges and adventures! Each outdoor activity has its own particular challenge, provides its own adventure. The hiker and climber quests for his destination. It may be a distant lake where the fishing promises to be excellent. Perhaps the goal is the summit of a high hill or mountain. Such goals toss out a challenge. Can you make it? Will you succeed? The fun comes from planning and preparing to attain the goal, and then putting forth all the effort and using all the ingenuity necessary to do it! Hunting and fishing have their challenges, too! These outdoor sports require skill, patience and technique and build within the sportsman the traits of character gained only in the outdoors. And in the going and coming, and while on location, there are countless sights, sounds, and lessons — a hawk circling overhead, the rushing of a waterfall, the lonely howl of a coyote or wolf, the glimpse of a deer, the explosion underfoot of a grouse or pheasant, the impressive track of a bear, the spoor of an elk, the amazing intricacy of a spider web, beautiful rocks and crystals, tumbled and tortured strata in the rocks and roadsides, wildflowers in full bloom, the startled whistle of a woodchuck, a glorious sunset marking the end of a perfect day. But remember I said "SAFE AND SANE" adventures! Why did I qualify that? Because the pursuit of dangerous adventures can and does lead to permanent injury and death.' Adventure does not have to be death-defying and nerve-shattering to be challenging and rewarding — nor should it be! When Satan the devil was tempting Jesus Christ to sin, he encouraged Him to jump off a high building while claiming the promise of God's protection (see Matt. 4:3-6). Jesus quickly shot back the right reply, "Thou shalt not tempt [or test] the Lord thy God"! (Verse 7.) By intentionally putting our lives in jeopardy, we tempt or test God to see whether or not He will protect us. God forbids such foolishness! To have God's protection, one must qualify for it! This means we must minimize and avoid risks and hazards, not invite them!
To this end, the old Boy Scout motto, "Be prepared," should be rigidly adhered to. Solid and thorough preparations include such considerations as proper clothing and footgear, adequate and nourishing food supplies, clean, pure water, navigational aids — map and compass — first aid training and supplies, matches, etc. All these requirements vary according to the nature of the outing, but certain laws of common sense, restraint, safety, and judgment must always prevail! If you are young and relatively inexperienced, take this word of caution! Recognize your inexperience and limitations! Usually youth does not do so unless or until they are forcibly driven home — but by then it may be too late! Don't make a cut or burn, getting lost or stranded, or a bad fall teach you this lesson the hard way! Be careful in the outdoors! Exercise judgment and restraint! Take every precaution and safeguard within reason — such as telling others where you're going, when you expect to return, etc. And above and beyond all your human efforts, ask Almighty God for protection! Claim His promise of Psalm 34:7, "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." You can count on God's angelic protection if you have done your part, and are looking to God to do His! The program outlined above — BEING ACTIVE, DEVELOPING A LOVE OF THE OUTDOORS, AND SEEKING AND ACCEPTING SAFE AND SANE ADVENTURES — is one that will start you in the right direction. It will begin preparing you for life's highest and finest adventures. But make no mistake about it, IT IS NOT AN END IN ITSELF!
Beyond the Physical Realm
There is a world beyond the physical realm — an unseen, spiritual world. There is a God in heaven who gives man his very life and being for a great and awesome purpose! Yes, there is a purpose in life — a reason for being — and that transcending purpose is the greatest adventure of all! God's plan for mankind challenges the total man — physical and spiritual! It pits man against himself in a kind of right "competition" known only to a chosen few, and rewards the victorious with a sense of satisfaction beyond belief. It is God Almighty who is the Ultimate Challenger — who supplies man with the adventure of entering His very own Family for all eternity! Apart from contact with this great God, you can go on vainly searching for the meaning of it all, catching your pleasures while you can, but you will never figure out why you were born, where you are going, and what is the outcome of it all! Not only will you never appreciate God's physical "work" and creation, you will never, unaided and on your own, find out and discover His true spiritual Work. For this adventure you need the best Guide in the business! YOU must have access to His maps, His savvy, know-how, and experience! And you must become a part of His highly organized expedition. Take heart! You're on the right track this very minute as you hold this magazine in your hands and read this article!