A New Way To Think About Youth

As we head into the second year of The Teen Decade I want to address a growing view of the youth culture. Over the years, our society has increased the negative talk about youth. They are growing negatively in every behavioral category - drug/alcohol use, bullying, suicide, declining grades, sexual dysfunction, etc. But, as in all data searching and sociological research, it really depends on what you are looking for.

In opposition to many of the popular sociological studies that characterize youth as products of their culture, as a menace to society until they grow up and become adults, Dr. Jeff Keuss argues that we need, instead, to reflect on youth and their culture through an approach that recognizes the unique personal nature of today’s mobile youth culture. You cannot place them in a manufacturing type production line that produces 'one size fits all'.

We must reset the way we think about and view the youth around us. Here are a few ways we can do that:
  • Effort to see young people individually and not as a whole
  • Value the many types and various styles they represent
  • Allow for youth to be who they are and not to have to grow up too soon
  • Measure the effectiveness of your ministry to them by how many tribes you draw
If we are going to hand our world over to the next generation, we must be willing to embrace who they are and to shape their lives to be as successful as possible. That will require a new paradigm shift in how we view youth and their culture.