Today I preached a sermon on the issue of teens in crisis and how the times are changing. It is true that in the 1950s the biggest issues facing teens were much different than those of today. Teens today face a myriad of issues that weren’t even imaginable fifty, forty, thirty or even twenty years ago.
Teens are bombarded with media and the pressure to perform has never been greater. Whether it is in the classroom, the athletic field, the band hall or even the church youth room, teens are more likely to have as much pressure placed on them (or more) than adults today.
Many teens handle the pressure well because of the relationships they have built with adults and friends who share their belief system. Unfortunately many teens do not have these built in systems and fall prey to: violence, drugs, sex, self – loathing and become gang members, drug users, pregnant or even worse, take their own lives.
There is hope in a this world, but the cost is not easy. What is the cost? The cost is too great for some to bear, the cure is time. Time with your teen and others.
Years ago the phrase quality time was introduced into the American lexicon. The meaning was that if you didn’t have a lot of time, the time you did have had to count. Expensive or lavish outings were the cure for the busy parent. Research (official and my own anecdotal) shows this to be untrue. Teens, and for that matter all of us, relish time spent with those we most care about.
If we want to make a difference in the lives of those teens we know we must start with that simple sacrifice of time spent with them. We live in a society that has built walls around ourselves and thereby have isolated ourselves from each other. We must tear down those walls and become vulnerable and transparent to those we love. If we don’t the price is too dear to pay.