The teen years are both exciting and exasperating as young men and young women try to find themsleves and find their place in this world.
When I think back to my own teen years I am regularly filled with a feeling wishing I could have a do-over, in every sense of that phrase. There are some aspects of my teen years that were so exciting and memorable that, were it possible, like a fun ride at an amusement park, I’d like to do them all over, and over again. Then there are other parts of my teen years, as I think of them, with a feeling like one gets when just receiving a bad grade on an exam, I wish I could go back and do everything all over again differently.
I know that, while my personal experiences may be unique, almost everyone has those same sentiments about their own teen years.
What is it about those years that makes them so turbulent?
If you were to look in your Bible concordance for all the verses about teeneagers, you would find none. The period of life we call adolescence is a fairly recent invention. Yet, at the same time, the Bible gives us wonderful descriptions of the tendencies of youth. Many of these are found in the book of Proverbs.
The first several chapters of Proverbs record a wise father giving practical life advice to his son. AS I have studied these chapters, I have found the sorts of things we will encounter with our teenagers.
What Tripp writes is in line with something I have told my own teenagers and the high school students in our church: If there is any book of the Bible written for teenagers, it is the book of Proverbs.
Tripp outlines 6 characteristics common in teenagers that would be helpful for parents and youth workers to consider. In fact, I think they might be helpful for teenagers to consider as they try to find themsleves and find their place in this world. Not all of these will be equally true of all adolescents, but I suspect it would be a rare teenager who does not exhibit some combination of these traits:
- Lack of Hunger for Wisdom or Correction
- Tendency toward Legalism
- Tendency to be Unwise in Choice of Companions
- Susceptibility to Tempations to Sexual Sin
- Absence of Eschatological (Eternal) Perspective
- Lack of Heart Awareness
My original intent was to add my own comments the catgories Tripp observes. But then I decided that there is benefit of brevity – that simply thinking about this list unimpeded by my thoughts would be itself beneficial to parents and youth workers.
However, because each of these issuse is worth exploring, my plan is to develop a series of posts, one for each of these assertions. I will welcome thoughts and insights, both here and in these future posts. My hope is that we can then use these insights both in our parenting teens and in the youth ministries in our churches.