I resisted associating myself more exclusively as speaker for students. I already struggled with my perception as 'drama guy,' even though my experience and education also included a broader integration of philosophy, theology, and literature. So when people asked me about speaking to students, I perceived it as, "Hey, 'Youth Guy,' we know you don't have anything worth saying to adults, so how about talking to our kids instead." I'd say, "Yes, I can, BUT I can speak to adults as well." And I did. In fact, I spoke to adults much more than to students until two years ago.
Through youth invitations, I discovered intense and mature questions from students. I'd talk to them. My wife, Jonalyn, would talk to them. Helping them navigate some of their ideas, I found a more difficult question emerge, "Could you recommend a book that talks about these things?"
Ouch. I couldn't. We had looked through the books available. Most of them were not accessible to a teenage education. Still more, the ones that were, didn't deal with many of the questions we did. And even those did not answer questions the way we did.
I started seeing students as a group mature enough to deal with the hard questions. Many of them as mature as their parents when it came to facing life's puzzles. These kids were asking for a lifeline to walk into a wider view of life. They wanted something in their hands to read, mull over, wrestle with.
I started to think about a book.