My mom once told me she thinks parenting today is harder than when I was a child.
I want to agree, but then I realize every generation since the beginning of time has struggled with youth.
Adam and Eve had plenty of regrets about Cain.
Jacob’s teenagers and young adults SOLD another one of his kids. (Um, my kids may have talked about that but never followed through!)
Eli was a priest who lived at the temple (kind of like the lead pastor). His kids were troublemakers, which may or may not have started the stereotype many people have about rebellious pastors’ kids.
There’s a reason David asked God to not remember the sins of his youth.
Today’s teens are no better. My local news carries story after story of teens (and even 12-year-olds) who are involved in carjacking. We also hear reports of teens who are perpetuating cyberbullying and facilitating teenage drinking and drug use.
It is true that children will screw up—because surely they are sinful from birth (Psalm 51:5). And I do not minimize the seriousness of their temptations, sins, and crimes.
At the same time, as I see the hopeful faces of high school and college grads, I want us to also get excited about kids these days. God gave teens and young adults to us as blessings. As we talk to the young adults in our circles of influence, I hope we let them know we believe they are fully qualified to handle the challenges that life presents. And, while we do shed a few tears because we can’t believe how quickly they grow up, let’s reassure them we are excited to see God’s plans for them unfold. Part of those plans includes being a light in their sliver of this dark world. While so many people act as if teens are nothing but trouble, remind them that because they are part of God’s family, they are set apart and can “set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who is thankful to know a bunch of pretty amazing teenagers.
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