The REAL WORLD
Please re-think ever starting a teaching opportunity for a teenager with, “You think you’re under stress *now*? Just wait until you have a mortgage the size of our and kids and pressure of losing your job. When you get in the REAL WORLD…”
Coming from someone who has studied the tribe of teenagers for nearly two decades now, I can attest that the stresses they face are very REAL WORLD.
Yes. They are age-appropriate, folks. A teen can’t experience the stress of a mortgage because a lot of people don’t even get a mortgage or pay rent or even pay their own bills until they turn 20 or so in our culture. Same for having children. Or having a career-type job. Those are all age-appropriate for someone just starting out on a career path.
But being a student is one of their roles. A test or project can create REAL WORLD stresses.
But being an employee is one of their roles. Their bosses get on them, too. And, you know what? Their bosses are usually more condescending than yours…simply due to the types of jobs they tend to get and their age against the age of their bosses. REAL WORLD stress.
But being involved in a fluid social situation is one of their roles. Yes, there’s drama. Yes, it’s usually created by the reality that many of them are actually learning and developing social skills in some way. This necessitates trial-and-error. That necessitates REAL WORLD stress.
But being involved in clubs and extracurricular activities of all types creates stresses, too. They’ll lose some big games. They’ll have deadlines to meet for yearbook staff or newspaper staff. They’ll have meetings moved to inconvenient times. REAL WORLD stresses.
But being in a dating relationship creates all types of stresses. Even having somebody “like you like you” that you don’t like back creates stresses. Something tells me I don’t have to explain these REAL WORLD stresses all that much.
Being the child of the type of parents who can afford to live in this suburb creates all types of REAL WORLD stresses.
Trying to be a Christ-follower in our culture where a worthy walk is neat and tidy instead of a questioning journey of increasing faith, well, that has some REAL WORLD stresses all on their own.
I could go on and on.
And, yes, I know you’re under various trials and stresses, too. It’s part of the gig and has been since The Fall. I’m not diminishing the nature of yours.
My point is that I don’t want adults to ever lose sight of the reality that teenagers are already in the REAL WORLD, and pretty much all that entails. They’re just age-appropriate issues.
I sat in a Starbucks yesterday three times with three different teens.
I listened to their various REAL WORLD issues.
And tried to get the Rubik’s Cube colors to line up with how following Christ fits into the nature of their REAL WORLD issues. We’ll see how it works out for ’em. It’s gonna take time with all three of ’em.
My point is that how they learn to deal with the REAL WORLD now will help them learn to live a transformed life in Christ when they have a mortgage, or a kid in the hospital, or lose a job, or go through a divorce, or even plan a wedding.
But make no mistake: They’re already in the REAL WORLD.