I’m finally home for the afternoon and remaining in an upright, less-pressure-on-the-sinuses position while I watch The Talk (a copycat of The View). They just did a segment on teen violence and apparently there was a YouTube video that went viral of kids beating up another student. I didn’t hear the entire discussion, but it ended on a note of reflection concerning the “other kids” – as in “where are the other kids who should be stopping this?”
One of the hosts started talking about how she does all kinds of things as a mom to try to teach her daughter to do the right things – eat good foods, pick up after playing, share her toys, listen to her parents and teachers, etc. But what she really wants is to raise her daughter in a way that when these things happen, she’ll have the understanding to know it’s wrong and the confidence to do something about it.
It made me really reflect about what it is that I value and what values I teach and model to my children. Yes, I want them to become all the things the host mentioned – a good listener, picks up, blah blah blah. But those things don’t change lives of other people. How do you teach compassion? How do you instill courage?
It reminded me of a recent blog post by Marko (formerly of YS) . Here’s what one professional/academic wrote:
Teenagers know, better than we do, that when we ask them to be Christians, we are asking them to do a very dangerous thing. The only way out is to adopt a “safe” version of Christianity (which might not be Christian at all) that helps them become good, nice people instead of people who love others sacrificially. But as we know, good and nice “Christianity” seldom lasts past high school, since teenagers quickly learn that people can be perfectly good and nice without Jesus anywhere in the picture.
So I think in the future, youth ministry will try to re-weird-ify Christianity, highlighting Jesus’ radical actions and peculiar self-giving love, in an effort to resist the American church’s habit of trying to tame the gospel into a middle class bedtime story. If Christianity is dangerous, then we need to act like it. Teenagers aren’t afraid of risk, but they want to know that Jesus is worth it. Young people are going to demand that we, the church, be who we say we are–people who obviously follow Jesus, which makes us “weird” in a culture based on self-actualization and self-fulfillment–or they’re just not going to bother with us at all.
Just some new perspective and new questions to ask myself about what it means to be a parent.