Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year 2017:

The passion of youth, the wisdom of age.

The old adage “too soon old, too late smart” is one gray-hairs enjoy leveling at those who still have their hair.

But I am struck by the idea that passion needs wisdom. As a hexagenerian (yes, I’m 60 years old!) I am committed to those younger than myself.

I believe that walking alongside folk is better than casting aspersions against folk.

Young people ARE our future. The question for those of us old enough for AARP benefits is “How will we treat and care for young people?”

So I was surprised and gratified to discover that the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) had chosen “youthquake” as its word for 2017. The word is defined by OED as

“a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.” [SOURCE]

It’s all about the next-gen. Saying it was not an obvious choice, OED’s Casper Grathwohl said its usage had increased “fivefold” citing young peoples’ impact on elections in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The divisiveness of 2017 seemed to spur OED’s decision as Grahwohl explained

“We chose youthquake based on evidence and linguistic interest. But at a time when our language is reflecting our deepening unrest and exhausted nerves, it is a rare political word that sounds a hopeful note. … I think this past year calls for a word we can all rally behind.”

A “hopeful note.”

Youth are our hope, humanly speaking.

The next-gen asks good questions.

The next-gen sees future trends.

The next-gen has energy.

The next-gen has a need for mentorship.

The next-gen is why I teach.

The passion of youth needs the wisdom of age and the wisdom of the ages.

The next generation needs prudence.

According to Proverbs, “prudence” gives the impression of one “who has been around,” “a man of the world” (wise to it, understanding of its ways, therefore careful of his relationship with it). This word is often contrasted with those called “simple” (22:3), who are told to be directed by the individual who “knows the ropes” spiritually (1:4a). A person with the prudence knows and follows through on the right reaction to moral evil.

My radio show producer, co-host, and brother Harold HB Bell tells me about the importance of the barbershop in the black community. He says one of the key rules of the barbershop is that old men talk, young men listen. But young men must show up at the barbershop in order to hear the wisdom of age.

Someday it will be their turn to talk.

The question I ask myself as a 60-year old is, “Am I teaching them prudence?”

Youthquake. Next-gen. Passion with prudence. Hope for 2018.

The next generation is the reason for The Comenius Institute.

Dr. Mark Eckel is President of The Comenius Institute (website), spends time with Christian young people in public university (1 minute video), hosts a weekly radio program with diverse groups of guests (1 minute video), interprets culture from a Christian vantage point (1 minute video), and teaches weekly at his church (video).

Help Comenius reach its $40,000 giving goal before the new year! The Comenius Institute [501(c)(3)] (website hereDonate online (here),, (text/talk 630.303.4891) Checks to “The Comenius Institute,” c/o Collaborate 317, 4202 N EMS Blvd #180, Greenfield, IN 46140 And ask Mark what Comenius would do with $1 million!

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