It almost seems today that teens are now expected to experiment with sex, smoking, binge drinking, bar hopping, and all those other irresponsible behaviours that have the potential for disaster. Parents sit back and, while not quite approving of their offspring's wild ways, simply ride out the storm. After all, they're going to do it anyway, right? These are the things teens do!
It's now expected that teens will go to the bars, get smashed, and wake up with strangers next to them. No biggie… as long as they learn from it.
It's now expected that teens will sleep around because, after the sexual revolution, women need the equality of men to express their sexuality and be free to partner with whom they want to and not be seen as sluts. It's a blow for feminism!
There's a bar in Lac La Biche, where I'm currently residing, called Truckers and it has always disturbed me the type of violent and brutish behaviour going in and out the of the joint. When I see youth I know and love wasting their lives and worlds in there, it hurts.
Is going to the bar wrong?
I've been known to frequent a pub a time or two.
My concern is that we have dumbed-down our teenagers. Instead of being examples of whole, expressive, curious, and Christ-like living, we have given in and said: "They're going to do it anyway. It's expected."
Who said that?
Who said that alcohol poisoning was expected? Teen pregnancy? Smoking? Drunkenness? Drug abuse?
I don't recall reading that anywhere.
I do recall the pressure and demand from the world as I was growing up to do all that stuff (and yes, there are people who find no huge issue with teen pregnancy), but nowhere was it ever written is stone that I was expected to get drunk, stoned, pregnant, violent or nasty to other people. Even now having adult peers invite out for a 'good drunk' is puzzling to me.
You mean, we haven't learned from our youthful ways?
Hey, if my perspective is unpopular, fine. It just seems to me that we have dishonoured our youth by telling them, teaching them even, that wild behaviour is an expectation now.
It certainly is not.
It is a choice.
By choosing to be lazy and allowing this 'they'll do it anyway' argument, we condemn our youth's intelligence, dreams, desires, and even bad choices.
Are some going to act out? You bet. Will some drink themselves stupid for a time? Uh-huh. Will others find themselves infected with an STI? Probably.
And we will love them, and support them.
However what I refuse to do is to make these kinds of choices the norm. For it is this precise stand that sets our kids up for failure.
I mean, if all we expect of our kids is drunken, drugged, promiscuous stupidity… then that's all they have to live up to. Why fight it?
Fight it, I say!
They are priceless!
Grace and mercy abound in the decisions of every human being, this is true, but this does not mean Christ lets us all off the leash to do as we please.
If we're going to see our youth set the bar higher, we need to set the example first and expect a different alternative from our youth.
Truckers is not the expectation. It is not the norm.
Our kids have enough to deal with already. They don't need us stepping aside and giving up on them. We can't lock them up, certainly, and I would question any family that shelters their children so much that they have no opportunity to put faith, choices, and life into practice.
All I'm saying is that we have turned bad behaviour into apathetic expectation and we'll just deal with the fallout as it comes.
That's not learning.
That's giving up.
If we set the bar at the bar, then the bar is all they'll have. I've worked and loved too many youth who believe that they bar, sleeping around, having kids at 16 (or younger), and dropping out is what's expected of them. This is unacceptable!
A radical, difficult shift in mindset is required. And it begins with us.
For the bar to cease being the bar our youth live up to, we need to create a new bar… new ways of living life and learning from it where dead end behaviours aren't the only reality they believe they will ever see.