Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Constructing the Teenage Mind

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21)

Our mind is designed to control the body, of which the brain is a part, not the other way around. Matter does not control us; we control matter through our thinking and choosing. we cannot control the events and circumstances of life but we can control our reactions....It's not easy; it is hard work, but it can be done through our thoughts and choices. (Dr. Caroline Leaf, Switch On Your Brain)

Raise your hand if you loved adolescence. I bet if I could see through my laptop, I would see no hands raised. Being a teenager is rough and the way our world is wired doesn't help. Contemporary culture for the teenager is a landfill of pop entertainment, verbal, fashion and hair trends, the latest social media interaction, entitlement and indulgence. The adolescent is caught between their childish nature and a rapidly maturing brain and body, as well as the volley between autonomy and group think. The professionals have taught us to expect teens to be mindless followers and slaves to their hormones; by and large we've lowered the bar for teen behavior because of these experts. 

Currently there is a growing mindset that not only teens, but even children need to be allowed a level of exploration that was once reserved for married couples. These new experts tell us to loosen moral boundaries, the gender assignments of biology and so much more in order for these developing humans to realize their truest selves.  

What do you think about this?
More importantly, what do teens think about this?

Most importantly, if you call the Bible, your handbook for living, what does God think about this?

There is so much negativity and relativistic mentality in the world, I've discovered that we need to train our children how to think and how to reason.

One of my sons sat at the dinner table last night to do his homework that had to do with worldviews like New Age, pluralism, nihilism and a whole bunch of other -isms. 
Then another son, overhearing a comment that I made about the -isms came into the room remarking that he was the king of swagism.

We all belong to some -ism. Biblically minded families need to make sure that their children and teens are taught to recognize any -ism that will undermind the foundation principles of their faith.

How do you train a teen who has spent hours playing video games how to identify nihilism or fatalism in the lyrics of his favorite songs? Patiently and graciously. It's natural that teens are sensitive and wary of critique. They are becoming and don't know who they are becoming or sometimes who they even are in that moment, but they innately need acceptance and respect no matter what hormone-induced personality is at the forefront. 

The daily educational grind inserts these fragile personalities with other like-minded personalities of the same age. The dominant personalities, usually the most insecure, become the clique leaders, gang leaders or class clowns that make every boring class a bit more fun. The voices within the daily grind are numerous and loud. How do our teens wade through this cacophony of peer and teacher voices, some good, some bad, but all impressing our teens to be shaped by their -isms, even swagism. 

Sometimes teens come home from school or coop and say, "so-and-so said the test is going to be hard," or "but mom, everybody's doin' it", BUT GOD says.....

Sometimes God's still, small voice is the last to be heard.
Biblical thinking in this day and age doesn't come automatically. It takes time and energy to know and understand the scripture. The verse "I can do all things through Christ (Jesus, the anointed one) which gives me strength." should b
e on the tongue of every adolescent. Sometimes "professional research" teaches us to expect teens to fail. Sure, adolescence is bumpy, but teens are not failures especially when they are in Christ. "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." Let's teach our kids to think biblically about themselves and the world around them. God's perspective is the only perspective that matters. "for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises] 2 Cor 5:7 AMP