TEENAGERS! I have three that I am raising, and I interact with over 1,000 of them on a daily basis. I SEE them, I HEAR them and I am compassionate for them. Their culture they are growing up in is drastically different than the one we were raised. It is important for us to understand the effects our current culture is having on them. They are overexposed to everything, information bombardment.
Here’s a snapshot of the uncertainty they face from Mark Gregston, author of Tough Guys and Drama Queens: “Today’s teens hear rumors that the end of the world is coming soon. They witness the loss of life by natural disasters that sweep across distant shores rattling islands with a death toll that is incomprehensible. They hear of war and rumors of war and watch movies at the the local theatre about the earth’s demise. They live in a time of economic crisis and hear outspoken critics speak of the gloom of the world. They see the broken promises of jobs and positions to those who complete their education. Our government is out of money, Wall Street’s volatility screams uncertainty, terrorism is a constant threat, businesses are failing, and nothing feels secure. The bombardment of information captures teens’ hearts and teases their imagination, leading them to think that everything is worse that it actually is. The response is often one of the two following statements; “I’m going to take control and make sure some things are certain in my life.” Another response is that teens give up and live a life that is entirely opposite of how they were raised–behaving recklessly and not thinking about the consequences–because whatever they do doesn’t matter anyway.”
I saw one of these students just yesterday in my office. He was a runaway that had been gone from home since last Thursday. He came back home to get a change of clothes and wanted to “drop” out of school. His parents came in with him. Their eyes darkened and tired from the worry and fear. He’s too young, only 15 years old, to be ready to give up on life. I saw him run out of the school when he didn’t hear what he wanted to hear. The parents were left to try to gain insight in what to do for their son. Meanwhile I peered out the window as I watched one of our Assistant Principals go out to meet with him. You could see a real heart to heart exchange was taking place and by the end of their discussion their was an embrace, a hug between the two. It melted me. I couldn’t get my attention off of this young boy. I found myself praying and asking for God to rescue him. Our Police Officer also came over to speak truth and life to him. Over two hours lapsed as the parents waited. By the end, the boy had agreed to go home, get a shower, catch up on his sleep, to not argue with his parents and to catch up on his credits and not give up. I would say that God heard and answered the prayer of rescue. PRAISE HIM!
Our youth today still NEED the same things we NEEDED when we were their age. They are desperate for REAL relationships. They want to be loved and understood. Interacting for almost 10 hours a day in front of some type of screen (computer, television, cell phone, tablet, smartphone, social media – tweets, instagram, facebook) is not cutting it. They end up feeling as if they are not enough, lacking in performance and appearance and they become the victims of our culture rather than willing participants. When we start to understand the ways in which they are being robbed of their childhood it causes us to turn our feelings of disappointment into understanding and compassion. We NEED to have compassion for our kids. They NEED us more than ever.
The timing of this study is no coincidence to me. Every couple in our small group has teens. We all confess the need to understand and desire to help our children. We all face different circumstances but at the end of the day, all of our children are desiring the same thing…to BE LOVED and ACCEPTED! They are no different than us. I want to be loved and accepted too. We were created with a yearning for it. Our Creator designed us with this longing, but He is the only who can fulfill it. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14…”Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
Let’s take a walk with our teenagers. Let’s get some fresh air with them and have real relationships with them. Let’s not be afraid to dialogue about the hard stuff. They are reading it, seeing it, hearing it and are trying to process it. Don’t let them process alone or be left to figure things out from their peers. Step up! Be their mom and dad and love them well. Show them compassion and understanding! Help them by praying with them and leading them to the ONE that can fulfill their deepest longings. He will never leave them or forsake them. You know this to be true because He has never left YOU!!! #truth #gloryup
“Be the one one who nurtures and builds.
Be the one who has an understanding
& a forgiving heart. One who
looks for the Best in people.
Leave people better than how
you found them.”