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Counter Culture: Adolescence

May 17, 2010

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:19

I want to be counter to a culture that says we don’t transition out of adolescence until we are 27. Are you kidding me? 27? I thought I was a late bloomer since I married at 25. Are we working in the church today to counter a culture that tells children they don’t need to grow up? Do we not see the pitfalls of these behavioral expectations?

A little background about adolescence that I learned reading Youth Ministry 3.0. (A great book written by Mark Oestreicher and put out by Youth Specialties. For full disclosure I should also note that I was turned on to the book this year by David Fraze at the Tulsa Workshop.) Originally the entire idea of adolescence was viewed as an 18 month process. And only came about in 1904.

It was a created period between puberty and adulthood. Keep in mind they thought it lasted less than two years. Think about it. For the majority of our human existence no one thought there was a place between being a child and being an adult. You were one or the other. Then when someone did think it existed they didn’t think it existed very long. This walks us into current day when it is viewed as lasting until the age of 27.

Can we not see how important it is to counter this culture? Can we not see how damaging this is? We were made to grow up much sooner than our culture says. We were giving all of the abilities and possibilities and yet we try to push them back? Our sex drive alone should tell us this is a bad idea.

Here is one of the problems.
We think we will save people from poor choices. Push it back so they make smarter ones. Our sex drive alone should say that isn’t going to happen. In reality because we push everything back young people are making poorer and poorer decisions. You don’t learn to make choices by putting off making choices. It sounds absurd to type and yet that is exactly what the culture says will happen.

We will make you wiser by insuring you are not wise.

What can we do to counter this culture? I’ll give you a warning, your kids may not like it. “So and so doesn’t have any jobs around the house.” “Such-and-such’s mom does everything for him.”

In church? I remember the day we were treated like we were part of the church. I remember speaking when I was twelve. There was an expectation that we were like everyone else. Sure we had youth activities but guess what, you were expected to clean up and set up. No one came in and did all of the work for us. The event happened just as much because of you than anything done for you.

No, the myth of adolescence is a culture we all need to stay counter of.

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