“Gary, times are a-changin!” These are the words of my wife’s grandfather, spoken to me probably 20 years ago.
This statement has never been truer than in 2013. To help make this point, I want to turn to Josh McDowell and his book, “The Disconnected Generation.” Here, Josh created a list of terms and how they are defined by adults and by teens. Pay close attention to this list. “Folks, definitions of words are a-changin!”
Adult Understanding: Accepting others without agreeing with or sharing their beliefs or lifestyle choices.
Teen Understanding: Accepting that every individual’s beliefs, values, lifestyles and truth claims are equal.
Adult Understanding: Giving due consideration to others.
Teen Understanding: Wholeheartedly approving of other’s beliefs and lifestyle choices.
Adult Understanding: Embracing people for who they are, not necessarily for what they say and do.
Teen Understanding: Endorsing and even praising others for their beliefs and lifestyle choices.
Adult Understanding: Certain things are morally right and wrong, as determined by God.
Teen Understanding: We have no right to judge another person’s view or behavior.
Adult Understanding: Preferences of color, food, clothing style, hobbies, etc. are personally determined.
Teen Understanding: Preferences of sexual behaviors, value systems and beliefs are personally determined.
Adult Understanding: Everyone has the right to be treated justly under the law.
Teen Understanding: Everyone has the right to do what they believe is right for them.
Adult Understanding: Being free to do what you ought to do.
Teen Understanding: Being free to do everything you want to do.
Adult Understanding: An absolute standard of right and wrong.
Teen Understanding: Whatever is right for you.
Some may be asking at this point, “Christian kids don’t think this way, do they?” Or, “Not my kids!”
First, let me say that no, not all Christian kids think this way. However, don’t assume they don’t until you present the list to them and talk about it. No matter what we do as parents and youth leaders – in this age of technology – we cannot shield our children from postmodern influences.
Along with technology is the pull of friends. Never underestimate your teen’s desire to be liked by his or her friends. I call this the “cool factor.” It is completely normal for teens to want to build relationships outside their families. This is why we, as parents and youth leaders, need to do what we can to make sure that our teens’ closest friends – their “inner circle” as we say at Reach America – are all Christians. And make sure these Christian friends have a biblical worldview!
In my next post, I will begin to explore how postmodernism has infiltrated the Christian teen world. And yes, I do have solutions and a strategy to turn postmodern Christian youth into multiplying disciples. I am doing my best to keep these posts to around 500 words.
Thanks for your comments. I always enjoy reading what God is saying to you!