(This post is part of a series from a weekend hosted by The Hills Church of Christ called Renew. You can find it and other posts targeted at making a difference in the world by visiting the linked websites above.)
Things are bad, real bad. We see more of the bad in the world today than at any point in history. With 24 hour news and social media reporting every thing that happens within seconds, it is impossible to get away from the negative. People in poor nations see what it’s like too have to much. American teens think they deserve a diploma, degree, or job.
I have often said I would not want to be a teenager today. School is harder, families are broken, the future is uncertain. Stress is higher today for most of us than it has been in a long time or maybe ever.
Generally the outlook on life is just plain bad.
Or is it??
As we listen to teens in our support groups, we find they are embracing their world. Stressed? Certainly. Confused? Absolutely. And yet they are embracing the world they live in. This embrace contributes to much of the stress and confusion. They are recognizing that life is not fair and there are a lot of injustices in the world. The problem is they don’t know what to do with what they see. They have the energy and momentum to make things right; they simply lack direction much of the time.
This is where Teen Lifeline comes in. Our support groups offer a safe place where teens can be heard. We listen and offer a new perspective. We talk about resources, stress management, goal setting, and positive relationships. Our goal is to offer them resources and support to make their world a better place.
One example of this happened in our teen parents program. I was leading a discussion about parenting skills and the group told me no one had talked to them about parenting skills. Seriously? Honestly, I was not that surprised but it was definitely something that needed to be corrected. Since then we have been focusing on parenting skills to help them parent in ways that will positively shape their kids.
In our support groups, teens often express how unhappy they are with how their parents handle things. This is not new, I felt the same way at times. What they need though is to take steps toward something better. If they don’t, it will be too easy to fall into the same pattern. Teens need to know there are good options and how to move toward them.
Will you consider partnering with us as we try to meet kids and students where they are and use the momentum they bring to help them have a life lived better?