Before we get there, all we can dream about is being “one of them”. When we are there, we believe we are invincible and smarter than those who try and teach us. After we are there, we realize how little we knew and how much those four grueling years shaped the rest of our lives.
Do you remember high school? I do… like it was yesterday. I was a 2 faced, manipulative, selfish creature who used my childhood as an excuse to treat everyone like I felt inside… trash.
One of the most dichotomous parts of being a teenager, is how they view themselves versus how adults view them. To one another, teenagers are the pinacle of social trends, more self concerned than necessary due to the amount of insecurities that seem to pile up in the first 12 years of life. And adults… adults think teens are rebellious, confused, lost, incapable and untrustworthy because somewhere along the way, we have forgotten what it was like.
It is no wonder that “delayed adolescence” is a real problem in America… Teenagers aren’t trusted to make the right decisions, accepted for their personal style, or allowed to express themselves in the creative outlets that they would choose! So instead, of being ready for adulthood when they reach the ages of 18/19, they are just beginning their journey into personal identity. What could happen at 19 is now taking place at 29 and I fully believe that parents, teachers, pastors, and other adult leaders are equally to blame as the younger generation themselves.
I am a part of the first generation of “delayed adolescents” and I didn’t get here alone.
The passion behind these words comes with a vision to reform the way we view, teach and interact with teenagers, not just today, but everyday. That we would commit to treating them with respect, as we desire to be respected by them. Allowing them the option to make the right decision, rather than always telling them about the wrong ones they are making.
Personally, I believe that teenagers have the ability to make the right choices, to love God whole-heartedly without being forced by religion and to become a much better version of adulthood than their preceding generations because of the endless opportunities provided by technology to be creative and intellectual.
Take some time to remember who you were when you were a teenager, to think about how you were treated and who you became in light of the way you were looked down on by adults… We often say, “if I could go back, I would do it differently”, well start today, make it different for the teenagers that are around you.