Thursday, June 29, 2006

Gifts or Idols? Part VI

Ahh...finally back to the "Gifts or Idols" questions!

Question number six from my earlier post asked, "Could the answers to these questions have something to do with why today's teens and young adults are so self-centered?"

I think that by simply reading the previous answers I have posted, the answer to this question is pretty clear: Yes!

What are the most common answers to the previous questions? I'll review and summarize them here.

1) Our focus as parents is typically on the children as the primary emphasis of the home.
2) We are raising our children "to be successful" instead of "to be like Christ."
3) Our parenting methodology is to focus our entire lives on our children, giving them every opportunity possible, all the while subordinating any other family responsibilities to these opportunities.
4) Because of the previous three answers, our children learn that the world revolves around them and they come to believe that is right and proper.
5) And of course, we want to ensure that we have built good self-esteem in the children and that they feel good about themselves. In other words, they are again told they are the most important thing in the world.

And then we wonder why teens and young adults are so focused on self, why they are unable/unwilling to give the time of day to people outside of their little peer group. After all, it's all about them...that's what they've been taught through the actions of their parents and society all through their lives. Far be it for the typical teen (especially the "cool" ones) to give the time of day to a child or to an adult. Far be it for them to give of themselves to serve another. After all, it's all about them, and serving isn't fun!

And then they are asked to grow up and take responsibility...and that doesn't sit so well either. As Dr. Albert Mohler (link on the left) states so often, we have a crisis of extended adolescence, of young men well into their 20s who should be doing adult things and contributing to society instead still living with their parents and avoiding all the responsibilities of adult life. That certainly isn't the type of man any sane parent wants for a son-in-law!

So, as parents, if we want to see our teens/young adults modeling Christ-like behavior rather than the typical self-centered hubris we see in most, we need to do something different. We need to be discipling our children such that they learn their true position in this world: that of a sinner, yet created by God, loved enough to have God's Son die for their sin, and now expected to put full faith and trust in Jesus and to grow in likeness to Him...and that likeness is anything but what is seen in today's young society.

But even scarier than the character defects and societal implications of Question #6 is the answer to Question #7....


Margaret said...

Haven't made it by in a while, but happy to be back reading here. We have decided not to call our children "teens" when they reach that point. I saw this on another blog somewhere and liked the idea. "Young man" and "young lady" they will be. Yes, it's just words, but I want to separate them from "stupid teen tricks" in any way I can. :-)

Charley said...

That's an excellent idea. I have read (somewhere) that the concept of "teenager" is really very new. In times not too far past, children went straight to adulthood and were expected to behave accordingly. In fact, isn't that what the Jewish celebrations of Bar Mitzva (and I don't know the name of the other one) are mark the transition to adulthood? Obviously it isn't much more than a ceremony in most folks' lives any longer...for the most part, those young adults aren't any more mature than the rest of the "teens."