.::Identity Pt. III: MORE Theology of Identity and Adolescence

When thinking about a theology of adolescent identity specifically in Genesis, it is important to look at the creation account for more insight.

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:18

Adolescents are created to live in community.
The feeling of belonging, the hunger for companionship is an innate human desire of every adolescent.  However, the many social systems we have developed for adolescents to find community fall short or providing that community.  Most of the communities we have constructed for teens have been composed mostly of teens hanging out with other teens and perhaps being supervised by a few adults to make sure no laws are being broken or babies are being made.  When you think about the different communities adolescents identify with they are usually something like sports teams, high school band, drama troupes, church youth groups, or academic clubs.  While these are important groups, they are in no way COMPLETE COMMUNITIES.

When God created adolescents to live in community God created them to live in Complete communities. Most of the modern social systems for adolescent communities leave out other generations of adults who can come alongside teens and help them to interpret and navigate the broader world.  Let’s face it, the world today’s teens find themselves in is a difficult and challenging environment not only to understand but to thrive.

When God created adolescents in community, God created other generations to protect and guard the younger generations of the community.  When you look at the elephant world, whenever the older elephants sense any sort of danger, they make a circle and surround the younger elephants of the herd. It is a beautiful thing to witness, to see these elder statesmen putting themselves on the line for the next generation.  Where do we see this in today’s culture?  Where do we see adults banding together and putting themselves on the line to protect the souls of out teens?

  • We adults need to come alongside the coaches, drama teachers, youth ministers, and other adults and help them by volunteering, serving, helping  and being a presence in those systems and send the message to our teens, “We are here for you” and “You matter! You are important!  You belong!”
  • When we see advertising targeted at teens that is sexually suggestive, we the adults must band together and say, “No! Stay away from our kids!” by either passively not purchasing such products or by actively contacting the companies and letting them know that we do not tolerate such advertising.
  • When we see television programming that is morally bankrupt that is capturing the minds of our teens, we need to change the channel and have a dialogue with our teens as to why we are changing the channel.
  • When there is programming at our churches that separates our teens to a dark corner of the church facility, we must demand that we get together with them regularly and connect with them on a spiritual level.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:6-8

These words in Deuteronomy are not written to mothers and fathers as have been traditionally taught by curriculum publishers, but they are written to the ENTIRE COMMUNITY.  These protection of the souls and identities of today’s adolescents are the responsibility of every adult in the community.

This is difficult in a society that is consumed with individuality.
The recent media circus over LeBron James’ free agency decision is a perfect example of individual trumping community.  LeBron cared mainly about one thing, LeBron.  Unfortunately every adolescent watching that got the same message.  Go back just one or two generations and look at guys like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, or Kobe Bryant, and they would have never even considered putting on such a narcissistic display as LeBron’s one hour special was.

Adolescents need adults to teach them the importance of community first and the individual second. This is going to mean that we adults needs to believe and embrace that as well.  More on that next post.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: