“Those teenagers today are so (you insert adjective)!”
What word did you choose? I’m guessing it was something like lazy, self-centered, addicted to technology, disrespectful, etc. It’s easy to complain about the emerging generation. How they don’t work in a tobacco patch, or respect authority. “They don’t make ’em like they used to (meaning the upcoming generation are different than us).”
This weekend my wife and I did the unthinkable. We volunteered to host 8th-grade boys in our home as part of our church’s Disciple Now Weekend. Of course, we expected all the above from these Middle School boys, because that’s the story we hear, and that’s the story we believe. But on Friday night, eight teenagers sat around our table, played basketball in our driveway, and slept in our boy’s room. And for a weekend we got to see “those teenagers,” not from a distance, but up close and personal.
And to our surprise, those teenagers picked up after themselves, made their beds, and played with our younger kids. One of those teenagers woke up early to read his bible and watched a girly kid’s show with my daughter after giving him the chance to watch something else. After breakfast those teenagers put up their plates and offered to sweep the floor.
After breakfast we rode around the farm and read the Bible together. Those teenagers listened, engaged, and added great insights to the text. They opened gates and helped feed the cows. They played basketball and enjoyed one another’s friendship without looking at a screen.
Katie and I were amazed. I’m not sure what we expected, but those teenagers exceeded it. Yes, they were still boys who jumped into our cold pool, fought off pranksters at midnight, and dared each other to eat dead spiders. But they were also boys who said please and thank you.
Here is my challenge to you. If you lament the upcoming generation because from a distant those teenagers look troubling, then I encourage you to get closer. Get close enough to hear those teenagers dreams and feel their hopes. And if you get close enough, you just might be surprised by how incredible those teenagers are.
I’m not sure how I would have filled in the blank before Friday, but on this Tuesday I’ll go ahead and say, those teenagers today are AWESOME!
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
– 1 Timothy 4:12