Why I’m Taking the Kids to Wild Goose: Mark Yaconelli

“It takes three things to attain a sense of significant being: God, a soul, and a moment.”

–Abraham Heschel

Wild Goose is a moment–a moment in North America where creativity, compassion, and community can be felt and celebrated.   My sons are both entering their adolescence.  Adolescence is when the veil of childhood slips away and we realize that parents are fallible, authorities lie, institutions oppress.  My eldest son Noah is studying the war in Afghanistan.  Yesterday in school they talked about the number of U.S. soldiers killed this past month (fifty-eight)-more than the sum of all November casualties since 2001.  They talked about the cost of the war: 200 million dollars a day. We went around the dinner table talking about the world’s situation—the unceasing wars, the inequality, the continued environmental degradation.  “We should stop watching the news,” my son Joseph recommended.  “It just makes me depressed.”

That’s when I told the boys about Wild Goose.  I told them about Christians who were gathering to play music, tell stories, draw and dance and inspire one another to be signs of love and peace in the world.  I told them about the various people who will be sharing ideas, strategies, and stories of peace-making.  My sons, thirteen and fifteen years of age, got excited.  “We’ll drive across the U.S.  We’ll do a protest in DC, then we’ll go to Wild Goose.”  We took out paper and pencil and made a plan.

My sons, I realize, are looking for hope.  They’re looking for people who have the vision, energy, and capacity to face the violence, inequality, and despair of the present age. My kids need one of Heschel’s moments–a moment when God is embodied in song, in story, in play, and acts of kindness.  My sons need to know they aren’t alone.  They need to know there are others willing to face the fear and hurt of this world with creativity and courage. That’s why I’m bringing them to Wild Goose.  You should too.

Mark Yaconelli is co-founder and co-director of Triptykos School of Compassion, and projects director of the Center for Engaged Compassion. He is the author of four books including Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus and Wonder, Fear, and Longing: A Book of Prayers

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  • http://www.on-the-other-hand.com Lydia

    I’d never heard of the Wild Goose Festival before today. It reminds me a little of (a Christian version of) the Burning Man Festival.

    How organized are your events? Is there an itinerary for each day or is most of it spontaneous?

  • http://soupablog.com Paul Soupiset

    Mark, my name is Paul. I actually designed the cover for Contemplative Youth Ministry :) — I hope my kids will get to meet your kids at Wild Goose Festival.

    Thanks for articulating what was on my heart.

    I’m glad other parents are bringing their whole families.


  • Robert M

    Thanks for this post, although our son is not an adolescent he is already forming ideas of justice, community, conservation and spirituality in his own mind. Sometimes funny, sometimes deep, mostly imaginative and not yet dulled by the world. I pray there will be a place for him to get excited and empowered and enabled to become a kindergarten revolutionary :)

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  • Ryan

    What’s going on in DC?

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  • deborah

    I’m bringing my 12 year old son for the same reasons – I am very excited to attend the Wild Goose Festival for myself – but especially because I will get to see it through his eyes too!

  • http://www.patheos.com Deb Arca

    Can’t wait to see you AND your kids at Wild Goose!

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