To understand this next generation, to understand your own kids, observe a class in any public school. It won’t be long before you’ll see something shocking.
Disrespect is rampant. It’s not likely the teacher or the school is to blame. The consequences they can provide are limited. It’s a cultural shift, and if you talk with any teacher, just over the past 5 years, it has gotten much worse.
So what’s happening with this next generation? Well, the hard truth is many of these students’ homes aren’t adequately preparing them for success. Often unconsciously, parents make decisions to the detrimate of their children.
For example, today’s parents frequently place their children in charge by caving to any whim. Children must know the world is not always easy. They have to be prepared for disappointment and even injustice. Otherwise, they find real life too hard to handle.
Guardians often fail to guide their children in technology usage. Even when rules are set, children have access to “the world”. Teens view porn in astonishing numbers. They limit their parents’ access to social media, or they use their friends’ phones to hide language, pictures, and texts.
In addition, many of these kids come from broken homes. They are being raised by divorced or single parents. Sometimes their grandparents are the guardians. Despite the guardian’s best efforts, these home situations often are not easy for the adults or the children.
These kids are being raised in a media crazed world. They are shown violence daily, and their sense of safety is also sometimes lacking.
These are generalizations. There are acceptions, but frankly put, today’s kids are more and more lost. By their late teens, many are frequently troubled and frustrated with life.
Teens need role models. They need a safe place to land. They need someone to desire a relationship–someone willing to invest in them.
I believe the best place for this is the church. Church is where a teen can find purpose. Church is where they find adults who are doing life differently. Church is where they hear they are deeply loved and where they find unfathomable forgiveness.
The teens of today know the world is messed up. They know they aren’t perfect, and they are desperately searching for something they’ve never seen.
Your church’s youth group, as crazy a place as it may be, is where they will find truth. Bring them to church, get them involved, and maybe volunteer your own time to shape the next generation.