Teens and Twitch-Thinking

The Teen Decade is that 7 year period of each century between 13 and 19. It only happens once every hundred years. And we are blogging on the key issues of teen culture and ministry. Today, we look at one of the most interesting characteristic traits of this generation. It is their tendency to make quick decisions.

Some call it instincts. Or split second decisions. Or maybe caught in a moment of time. When snap decisions and judgments become gut reactions that are not second-guessed. Something they do in the blink of an eye.

I think young people can be great at this. We've all been there. As an athlete, we make a quick decision to pass the basketball, swing at a pitch, or throw a pass. This generation has been raised around instant. Microwaveable everything from food to warming packs. And decisions. How about a young person's selection of a place to eat or music to listen to or a movie to go see? Look at their relationships. Have you ever seen a teenager stand up for someone being picked on by others without thinking of their social or racial status? That is innate in young people.

However, I think young people can be bad at this too. Using all of the illustrations above! Decisions are something you cannot take back. There is no rewind button for our decisions. That moment when we are tempted to say something we shouldn't. So, how do we deal with this as youth leaders?

Here are 5 ways to help young people become better at twitch decision-making skills:

1. Experience - The greater breadth of a teens life in many areas is vital to their development at decision-making. Parents and leaders should get young people into situations that stretch them so that they can build their field of experience. Experience can give teens a vast google-like repertoire of facts to help with this twitch.

2. Mentors - We talk often about this, but, very few of us really take advantage of the value that comes from a mentor. Let me test you on that right now. Do you have someone in your life that you are afraid of? Do you meet monthly with a person that has been where you want to be? This area of mentoring and executive coaching has become the fastest-growing Master's / Graduate program in the country. We must inspire young people to seek the guidance of a mentor to help them with the twitch.

3. Education - Whether it is reading or schooling, the amount of information that students can intake will help them with this twitch. An education can build a reference library for making a decision because it gives them background, history, and the processes of others who have made similar decisions. Critical thinking skills are desperately needed in the younger generation. Even at an early age we should be stressing to young people the value of staying engaged in the classroom. This will ensure a better twitch.

4. Character development - This is key. Why do we make decisions? What spiritual conditions should be considered before decisions? How will this decision effect my future? Sowing and reaping is a little considered principle that can bring a guard to anyone making decisions. I trust the twitch in the young person who is stable spiritually.

5. Paralysis of Analysis - This may sound like the opposite of what I just said. It is. And that's ok. We must teach young people to make decisions with as much information as they have, yet, not to hesitate in the face of pressure. If all of these skills can be developed in teens, they will have the catalogue to make the right decision in a twitch.

Don't forget that in the Bible there were many suddenlies. When everything changed. Those moments when something happens immediately and its effect is significant for a lifetime. As a youth leader we must help condition young people to better twitch thinking.