ethics politics


I’ve had recent ponderings about the increasing violence, recklessness, selfishness, and hedonism of many young NZers represented in the news.   Oh sure, there are some sterling exceptions, but not enough.  I’m a pastor for youth, and I am for youth, not against them… but the reality of how things are saddens me.

I’ve said it in person, though probably not here: though humans have always been and will always be a mixed bag and swinging pendulum of both wretchedness and radiance, mod-western teens are an historical/geographical rarity.  The difference: the very recent and unwise concept of ‘teenager’ (being [be]t[w]een the age of child and adult).  It’s post WWII stuff – that recent.  These human beings have almost certainly the highest options-to-responsibilities ratio in the history of humanity.

We expect almost nothing from them, and that’s what we get.  We expect them to consume resources & time and many do just that and no more.  Meanwhile, the rest of the 13-19 yr olds around the world and throughout human history were a) viewed as an adult (usually entering adulthood through rites of passage – such as a Bar Mitzvah), and b) had the responsibilities of an adult.

At home, at school, and in towns/cities, these kids need jobs to do.  They have intellect, energy and creativity and it so often gets wasted.  Here’s to them getting the support and guidance (starting with a few parents who need a rather massive wake-up call) they need to be all they can be!

3 replies on “teenagers”

Actually, I think that the westernized Christian church shares a part in the blame for this.

We (more than any other organization) have “youth” groups. Where many civilizations and cultures use this time to teach girls how to be women and boys how to be men; we want to teach them how to be big kids.

The truth is that it’s too late for that. They already are big kids and those lessons should have been taught when they were little kids. Now is the time to assimilate them into adult groups with men mentoring boys and women mentoring girls. It is not the time to isolate them from adulthood. It is time to groom them for adulthood.

Great observations, Dale.

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