The Trouble with Teenager-ism

Did you know there are no teenagers in the Bible? It’s true, read on to see the terrible ramifications of this cultural invention.


The “teenager” I am speaking of here is not simply an age range but a mindset our culture has invented, an acceptable standard (or lack thereof) of living. It seems to accommodate the individual who is too irresponsible and destructive for adulthood yet too mature for childhood. But is the cause of many teenagers immaturity due simply to their age or is it a psychological fulfillment due to our cultures endlessly low expectations for our “teens”? Centuries ago we see young people from 13-18 doing big things, taking on jobs, responsibility, success, even families and doing perhaps a much better job at it than our young adults of today.

Much of the media’s industry hinges on this age group and is continually pushing the limits of what it means to be a normal teen. Music, ads, and movies encourage more drinking, further sexual experimentation, risk taking with drugs, and disrespect towards adults. For a first hand description of this lifestyle spoken by the very mouths of those who promote it, just read the lyrics of the stars such as Katy Perry, Brittany Spears, Rihanna and Keisha. What the radio actually plays these days may surprise you.

I don’t want to stereotype the teenagers of America but instead attemept to describe the subculture that has been invented for them. It’s a lifestyle with appeal and excellent marketing. Being an American teenager is about doing whatever you want to and ignoring the long term effects of what you want to do. It’s as if they are expected to fool around with sex, drugs, drama, and other junk and when they get hurt we blow it off and say “oh they’re just teens, it’s a phase”. I think this attitude enables the young people of America to waste their younger years on things that don’t matter and will make their adult lives more difficult.

2Timothy 3:1-4
1 – But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2 – For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 – unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
4 – traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

This scripture rings true with the todays youth culture of America all to well. In fact to the world if teens aren’t involved in these things people get concerned about them! How backward is that?

The Newest Addition to the Household

But this destructive phenomenon of teenagerism has not always been. The term “teenager” was invented during the first half of the last century. The young adults of 13-18 eventually began to be seen as separate from adulthood and I believe that this new group lost it’s ties to the lifestyle of responsible, capable adult living. We’ve cut them off and said they aren’t ready for it yet and as a result they believe it and act accordingly.

Now some people may reply “You are just being too conservative and radical about this whole thing! The teen years are about finding out who you are, finding your place in life, and enjoying life before you begin your adult life or career.” To that I have to both agree and disagree. I agree that young adults (formerly known as teenagers) should use those years to find out who they are in God (not the world) and what He has for them to do with their life. But I disagree that to do this you must jump head in to sin, or justify reckless behavior. Your true identity cannot be found by experiencing the carnal life and delaying adult responsibilities until your legal age of 18 comes up. How should we expect our teens to be respectful and responsible when for the past 5+ years they have been told “It’s ok to not be respectful or responsible”? Even many legal adults are still act like children! Why have we said “It’s ok to do some stupid stuff and sin it up when you’re young”? We are training our kids how to not be good adults.

Rom 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

If you go back in history you will find that young adults were very capable individuals, they were adults in training. Can we say the same about our “teenagers” today? Are they training for the aspects of adulthood – stewardship, self control, respect, communication, and responsibility? It seems just the opposite. We are training our teens to live like sexually active children in an adult body in an adult world. Are parents preparing their children for the real adult world?

The Solution

To the young person: use your young years wisely! Don’t take for granted the luxuries of living with your parents! Use your young years to grow in to a capable adult. Stop accepting the low expectations our culture places on you, believe that you can do just as great things as any adult!

Develop your relationship with God, never stop asking Him to reveal to you your callings, gifts, and skills. Try new things and stretch yourself. You are only young once so take good care of your body and mind while it’s easy!

Ecc 12:13 – Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.
Ecc 12:14 – For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

Don’t adopt the destructive mindset of the world that it’s ok to do this wild thing while your young cause “you only live once”. That’s the exact reason why you should not do a lot of what the world says you should do!

1Corinthians 6:19 – Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

Think of the long-term effect of what you are about to do before you do it. Ask yourself “Do I want to add this to my baggage I will carry in to adulthood? Do I want to still be found doing this when I am 35?”

Perhaps we should stop using “teenager” all together and start using “young adult” because that is what you are when you are in the range of 13-18. If you prove to be an irresponsible young adult guess what? You will very likely turn out to be an irresponsible adult upon you’re 18th birthday. And if you think that all of the acquired baggage, heart ache, addictions, and flaws of your teen years will cease when you turn 18 or 21 think again! They will likely get worse.

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

The Power of Youth

Alexander the Great at 16 handled his fathers kingdom successfully when his father was away, he also became King of the Macedonian empire at age 20 after his fathers assassination.

George Washington at 17 took up the career of surveying, he helped lay out the city of Bellhaven in Virginia and appointed as surveyor of Culpepper county. At the age of 22 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the war between the French and British.

Thomas Jefferson at the age of 9 began learning Greek, Latin, and French. At age 19 he began to study law and became on of the nations best lawyers.

Steve Jobs at the age of 21 founded Apple Computer Co.

Bill Gates was 20 when he started Microsoft.

Joan of Arc, an uneducated peasant girl rose to power and lead battles all before the age of 19.


2 thoughts on “The Trouble with Teenager-ism

  1. Daniel this is so amazing, they all are but I guess I love this one so much because I can relate to it. It revealed a lot to me and convicted me as well. If at all possible you should do more that relates to this age group. ♥

  2. The two verses that come to my mind summarize my comments…
    Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
    (Ecc 12:1)

    When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
    (1Co 13:11)
    As I get older, I really regret not serving the Lord as I should have. I now am plagued with arthritis, and heavy responsibilities, and other pressures that I did not face when I was younger. With youth is a freedom to serve the Lord unfettered with the pressures of life.

    However, the Bible makes it plain that the natural way of things is for us to waste our youth on frivilous pursuits. Normally, it is only when we get older that we begin to recognize the necessity and benefit of service to the Lord.

    It is so sad, but true… this is another result of sin and our fallen nature.

    Another very necessary post. Thanks.

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