My 12 year old God- daughter has opened up herself to me and shared her excitement and also her anxiety about turning 13. She asks what it would be like to be a teen. I answered, “nothing much will change until puberty. But really nothing much changes.”
She then continued to ask, “why is it important to be a teen?” I did not quite know what to answer, but I felt God giving me wisdom to answer her. It’s important to be a teen because you are growing up to take more responsibility.
This is now what I feel would be my message to teens:
1. Remain Obedient – Something happens when we are in our teens, something in our mind may challenge us to disobey rules. We try and test our parents and will want to be accepted by our friends. It means that teens should have a constant reminder to remain obedient to their parents. The best thing to do is to keep close to God, read the bible, pray, and to continue to obey even when it is hard.
2. Choose your friends – It is in the teenage years that your peers will determine the influences in your life. If your friends drink alcohol and smoke, you will most likely try it. If your friends like sports or theaters, you will spend more time in those. It’s important to choose friends that influence you positively and not bend to peer pressure.
3. Don’t rush getting into relationships – These days some teenagers are in a rush to be affirmed and feel loved so they get into relationships early. Many of them will get physical and even reach a point of sex. Young girls give up their virginity to young boys who do not understand true responsibility and respect. Many get depressed at a young age after hurts and break ups. Also many do not also know about safe sex and will contract STDs or worse, HIV. Guard your heart, there will be so much time for love with the right person and the right time.
4. Listen to your parents and guardians advise – God placed these very people in your life to guard you, to guide you, and to protect you. These are God’s gifts to you so you can experience the best life. Listen to them and do not neglect their advise. Listening to your parents is honoring them. According to the Bible honoring your mother and father gives you a promise – long life.
This generation has more temptation than our generation. With all the available information out there, their struggles increase. This is why more intentional parenting is needed. There is a rise on teenage pregnancies, teen age suicides, teenage depression and bullying than past generations.
However there is hope. If parents, relatives, God parents, teachers will share similar values to the young, we can help our teenagers overcome these challenges. As they say it takes a village to raise a child. So each of us should play a part in that village.