Hey, ya'll! Forgive me, I had really planned on getting this posted sooner. Really I had, but you see it's a funny story. Painful, but still slightly funny. It's just that while my mom and I were sewing today, my finger got caught under the needle and I sewed through the tip of it. Leave it to me to successfully impale myself with a needle right? To top it all off the needle hit a bundle of nerves, which in turn successfully turned my entire hand numb. Having a numb hand made it really hard to type, and I wasn't going to write out this whole thing with one hand. Anyhow, that's my excuse for being so late.Now to get to the serious stuff, and just in case you were wondering, no this isn't a post about me raging war against though sewing machine. ;) However it is a post about a war that's being raged against you and I.
Wait, there's a war campaigning against us?
Let me first define 'us' to put everything I'm about to say into perspective. How old are the writers on this blog? Teenagers, right? Over all, the majority of our readers also fall into the 13-19 years age range. Does anyone see a connecting factor?Yes, teenagers.
There is a war being raged against those of us who fall within the ages of 13-19.
But that's stupid. You're just being rebellious against others and dramatic, right?
See! Rebellious, dramatic, stupid. These are all words easily tagged to the label 'teenager'. It's our society's perception of the teenage years that stands in the open battle field.
To start it all off, thirteen seems to hold this inspiring number of 'freedom'. What twelve-year-old's are being freed from, I don't know, but I do know that it sets the tone for the rest of the teenage years.
I remember turning thirteen and even having people from church ask me if I was going to enjoy my rebellious stage.
At thirteen I wondered what I was supposed to be rebelling against. Was it my parents? I didn't see the point of struggling against them. We agreed on most everything and I loved them. Was I supposed to run around with the 'grown-up' kids now? But I didn't like that idea either. At the time most of the older teens around me acted cocky and know-it-all, talked bad about their parents, and seemed to have an over all bored outlook at life. I wanted more and I continued to feel this way throughout my early teenage years. Many of those around me considered my outlook to be 'childish'.
Why would I want to be serious about grades and my behavior? Why should I concern myself with what sort of career I wanted, much less work towards gaining skills for one? Why did I just accept my parents teachings, shouldn't I question and test them? Shouldn't I have been more concerned with makeup, fashion, and boys? Shouldn't I be dating and experiencing 'life'?
These were all questions posed to me by my peers and by adults.
It's not stupid, I'm not being rebellious against others (Actually I am, but I'll get to that later), and I'm not trying to be dramatic. I'm just very concerned with something that I see as a big problem with our world. Because we really are at war, we're at war against stereotypes and the low expectations that result from them.
A Battle of Low Expectations?
Yes, that's exactly what I'm talking about! Society doesn't really expect a whole lot out of teenagers. As a whole we're just sort of expected to drift dully through that six year period. We're seen as 'stuck' between childhood and adulthood without a whole lot to do. When you expect one to be rebellious, treat them as such, and then keep expecting the same behavior then they're not going to change and neither will your outlook. If someone sets low expectations, then what's the use of trying? One can be successful without having to exert themselves at all! If you keep decent grades and manage not to get fired from your job then you must be so very successful. Sure, compared to the 'stereotypical' teens who sleep away useful hours, disregard their parents wishes, care next to nothing about school, have little respect for other adults, and seem to have no direction for their future, then you must be doing pretty good.
But isn't there something else we can do?
Well, the first thing that comes to mind is rebelling against low expectations (See, I told you I was really rebelling). If people expect teenagers to be rebels then why not rebel with meaning? Fight against low expectations and prove that even though your age ends with a 'teen' you can still be responsible, mature, driven, passionate, and full of deep ideas.Apparently Paul agreed, because he left behind some very specific and very encouraging instructions to another young adult, Timothy.
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity. ~ I Timothy 4:12
We are commanded (Through scripture no less!) to rise above those low expectations and set an example for others around us.
Then how exactly should we spend our teenage years?
It used to be that once you reached the 'teenage' age range you were required to set aside your childish ways and learn the ropes of adulthood. Sons either learned their fathers trade or entered into an apprenticeship. Girls were expected to learn how to run a household, care for a family, and in many cases also learn a trade of their own such as becoming seamstress. By taking on more and more adult like responsibilities one make a smoother transition into adult life. Now, many kids graduating from high school are grossly unprepared for life as an adult. They get into college and buy into the same low expectations set by their peers. "Hey, it's only college! You can hold off being a responsible adult for a few more years. Just enjoy your freedom and don't worry about considering the affect that your actions will have on your future career, family, and well-being. Party it up and have fun!"....Okay, so maybe that was a little over the top dramatic, but I can even say that most people I talk to are shocked that I picked such a small and conservative university to attend. A popular response is, "I assumed you'd be ready to leave behind your parents rules, you know, actually experience some fun." *cough-cough* Sorry, wild drunken parties don't exactly fall under my category of fun.
Anyhow, I'm rambling. The point is that although we can still enjoy being a kid during these years we also need to learn to take on more responsibilities and learn to handle ourselves as young adults. This is an imperative time to set standards and good habits for yourself, plan at least some sort of goal for the future, and most importantly focus on deeply rooting yourself in God's word and strengthening your relationship with Him. You certainly don't have to become an adult overnight, but you do need to use this time to mature and prepare for your future!
Don't fall on the battle field to low expectations, rise above and take on the challenge of setting an example for others so that they might also rise above.