Parents, let the people in your children’s lives help you cultivate their teenage experience. We can help them become contributors to society rather than just consumers of it."
What does the Bible say about teenagers? Have you ever thought about this? Well the reality is, the Bible has nothing to say about teenagers? Why? Well, the word didn’t exist. In fact, the term teenager didn’t come into existence until a 1941 Reader’s Digest coined the term.
Let’s do a bullet point history lesson really quickly. (Alex & Brett Harris - Do Hard Things)
Thanks in great part to this dramatic shift in distinction
We can’t change the way the role of young adults has been developed over the last century, but we can focus on the expectations we place on the young adults in our care. We can look at the teenager’s place in our society and choose whether we want our kids to mirror it or defy it.
Parents, let the people in your children’s lives help you cultivate their teenage experience. We can help them become contributors to society rather than just consumers of it.
Let’s get back to my original question. What does the Bible say about teenagers?
It says absolutely nothing about teenagers, because God does not have two standards, one for adults and one for young adults. He has high expectations for both.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I gave up childish ways.”
Do you have high expectations for your children? Are you encouraging them to contribute to the gospel narrative? Or, do you assume they will contribute when they grow-up. While the concept of ‘teenager’ is relatively new, the idea of contributing is not new. In fact, we can trace man’s calling to contribute all the way back to the Garden of Eden.
As we start in Genesis we see God as the ultimate Contributor. He created the world we inhabit and the bodies we utilize. Then he created man, put him in the Garden, and told him to work it and take care of it. Since the beginning God expected man to contribute.
Genesis 2:15 “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
So, we have a contribution calling. A calling to contribute to God’s creation in meaningful ways; a calling to bring people into relationship with him, and a calling to be difference makers. A calling to contribute to the workplace, academia, family, church, and an expectation to connect God to each of these aspects of our lives.
We see this narrative play out through scripture. We see humankind’s contribution to our world and to God’s plan for our world. Interestingly, some of the contributors who had the most impact in scripture are not adults as we would define them today, they were teenagers.
Our young adults are capable of much more than is expected of them in our culture. Instead of expecting very little from them, let’s step up and be the guides and encouragers who help them achieve what should be expected of them. Let’s teach them that failure isn’t the end, it’s a jumping off point for achievement. Let’s stop making excuses for our kids and call them to contribute!
I'm so thankful to be apart of a team that’s passionate about guiding students to contribute to our world. I know our incredible young people will change our world in great ways, but it will take an adjustment in our expectations for them and an adjustment in their expectation of themselves before we can move in that direction.
Let us hear your contributor story. Periodically, we enjoy offering contributor spotlights and would love to spotlight you or someone you know. Who is making a difference? What children do you know contributing to society in big ways? Let us know through the contact page, email email@example.com, or leave a comment below.