“Where are you going to study next year? Do you have a job lined up yet? What do you want to be when you grow up?”
These questions, asked by countless pastors, teachers, youth leaders, and other adults, have plagued graduating seniors since there have been graduating seniors. It is not the mere repetition of these questions that should cause us to reconsider asking them; these questions themselves betray the Christian vision of the Good Life that many of us have tried to instill in the very people of whom we ask them.
Can we train ourselves to ask better questions, and in so doing, develop a liturgy of small talk? Yes, but it will involve coming to grips with the reality that the words we use when we talk about nothing actually matter.