Culture Shock: Raising a Generation of Teens That Can Change the Culture
- Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.
“My parents don’t love me” is one of the most commonly believed lies among the teens my team and I minister to every year at our Culture Shock teen program. I have ministered to thousands of teens all over the world, and I am amazed by the absurd lies the enemy has caused these young people to believe about themselves, their parents, and God.
In the Culture Shock program, we give each teen a 3 x 5 index card and ask them to write down three lies they have believed and are now able to identify after going through our sessions. You can imagine the relief they feel after exposing lies they have allowed to shape and influence them for so long. What these young people write down has driven me into a kind of crusade to find out where these lies come from, how we can stop them, and what to do if teens have already started to believe them.
So what kind of lies are we talking about here? First of all, the enemy knows that if he can get them to forget who they are in Christ, then he can get them to do things no self-respecting child of God would ever do. So he tells them things like this: “God doesn’t care about you. Your parents love your brother or sister more than you. Because no one cares about you, the only way to find love is in the arms of another.” The enemy is at work full-time, using every medium he can in his effort to deceive our kids, and it doesn’t matter if the teens are homeschooled, private schooled, public schooled, or even graduated.
My research—done through my own teen ministry, current studies, and experience with my family—has brought me to the conclusion that teens desperately need the guidance of their parents. More than a really relevant youth group or the latest Bible study to hit the market, they need Mom and Dad to stand in the gap for them and connect with them over all the issues our mixed-up, demoralizing culture is throwing their way. It’s you, their parents, who are with them in the daily battles they will face.
In many ways, our kids are facing a battle for their purity that no other generation has encountered. Even homeschooling in and of itself doesn’t protect them from this fight for their purity and integrity. The walls of safety and security we’ve constructed in our homes aren’t enough to keep the world at bay and stop it from affecting the choices our teens make.
Most of us parents have been told “you just don’t understand” at least once. And sadly, this is partly true. After all, while there are similarities, our upbringing compared to that of our children is immensely different. The very society they were born into has changed dramatically. As an example, cell phones have been popular only since the mid 90s—right around the time our teens were born. I know better than to mention a pay phone—or worse, a record player—to my 14- and 17-year-olds. The looks of confusion, coupled with the utter disbelief that I actually used those things, are enough to keep me away from those subjects entirely. As parents we are immigrants in this technological world . . . but our children are natives.
Yet, in spite of the differences, I’m convinced it’s possible to stay connected with my teens. I believe that we as parents can absolutely be the authorities, guides, and mentors that God has asked us to be for them. After years of working with teens from all across the globe, I’ve come up with two key areas I believe play leading roles in their lives and the direction they ultimately take—and where they need guidance most: (1) technology and (2) guy/girl relationships.
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