Something I’ve noticed about teens lately, hanging around them: it’s becoming harder and harder for me to really relate and empathize with their world of awkward puberty, peer pressure, and among a certain circle: fashion obsession. And it makes me sad to think that we (and I use we because I am not exempt from the lure of the media) now idolize Blair Waldorf and Edward Cullen and goodness knows who else…instead of, well, I don’t know. See? I can’t even name anybody that I feel strongly about–and I’m not even fashionable (meaning I don’t really follow the latest movies/music/clothes). The fact that I can’t name anybody proves my point.
Raising Godly teens is becoming a huge challenge for the modern Christian (especially third generation) family/church. Children follow their parents to church from a young age, they know what they are expected to do, but there are so few people out there to really show them how to connect with God. And they drift away…because, honestly, what’s so good about attending a boring church service, with a God that doesn’t feel real? The secular media does a better job of entertaining, informing, engaging.
If not for the precious little time I spent with my aunt during holidays and books she gave me, I would have been just as lost in my teenage years. Religious, and as lost as anybody else. At least my aunt gave me some hope that there was more to Christianity than the life I knew. In fact, Christianity is life, it is life abundant, we just don’t live it most of the time.
So this holiday, realizing that my sister is growing up and growing up fast, I decided to spend some time each day reading the bible with her and teaching her to do her quiet time. I discovered that there were things she did not know, questions she left unasked because there was simply no one to engage with. I realized I needed to pray for her! Pray for a mentor, and be one to her when I can.
Teens need people to teach them to stand up to peer pressure. They need guidance to navigate the gamut of emotions they feel. And to gain the ‘right’ to teach them, they want to know that you love them, you love spending time with them, you care about what they care about, and that could mean doing a million different things from playing PC games/boardgames, taking them out for trips, playing sports together…some of which you might not particularly enjoy after a tiring day. But if you love your younger sibling/a teenage friend, the best present you can give him/her is not a shiny Christmas gift. It is your time. Your nuggets of life experience. Your little acts of care and concern.