Why Is My Kid So Burned Out? | February 7, 2020
Three Things This Week
1. The Bible Is Boring
What it is: Ever heard a teenager say that when explaining why they struggle to read it? It’s been a common sentiment among teenagers for generations, but one teenager who’s been there has some advice.
Why it’s worthwhile: Our modern culture is not only loud, it’s everywhere, constantly begging us to “watch this” or “listen to that” or “play now!” And when most of that culture is designed to satiate basic desires while also leaving us wanting more, the slow, difficult, and even “boring” task of reading God’s Word seems pointless. But the truth is that the life Jesus calls us to—indeed, even the Gospel itself—is counterintuitive. It doesn’t satisfy in the way the world satisfies; it reaches much deeper, offering us lasting, true satisfaction. But it doesn’t come without a cost. We must sacrifice every part of ourselves to serve Him and love Him more, and part of how we do that is by reading God’s Word. Read the article with your struggling teens as a first step on the path to helping them find a passion for God’s Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.
2. Media Discernment
What it is: Each year, the Super Bowl is an obvious reminder that there are tons of ideas being subtly propagated through the media take in, including and perhaps especially through advertisements. Our friends at CPYU have some great questions to teach young people to ask whenever they engage culture.
Why it’s helpful: As we disciple the next generation, our goal should not be to make them mindless automatons who simply follow the rules we give them. Basically, rather than teaching them what to think, we should train them how to think for themselves. CPYU’s questions gently teach children and teenagers to see beyond flashy images and emotional tugs to what’s beneath without us doing it for them. Though the questions are geared specifically toward ads, they can be adapted to fit any cultural artifact at hand. So the next time you’re watching TV together and come across something questionable, begin asking them these questions and see what follows!
3. Generation Burnout
What it is: The “always-on” Generation Z is starting to feel the effects of the pressure, and as they reach their 20s and the workplace, it’s manifesting as burnout.
Why it needs to be reversed: Burnout is not a mental disorder but rather “a dysfunctional relationship between a person and their job” and is characterized by exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced professional efficacy. Why are they experiencing this so young? As Elite Daily notes, more than ever, employees are expected to be “on” at all times, especially entry-level workers who don’t feel they have the clout required to push back. And since Gen Z is more stressed than any other generation, the endless pressure reaches a breaking point, and they check out. Read the article with your Gen Zers, then ask if they feel similarly and brainstorm ideas for how to combat the pressure and have healthy boundaries.
Super Bowl Time
On Sunday, 102 million people gathered in ritualistic tradition to celebrate one of the high points of the cultural year. The Super Bowl is a global holiday, commemorating what we as people love most: sports, entertainment, and unfettered consumerism. This annual liturgical act is just one of a number of “feast days” that make up the pop cultural calendar. An almanac of events and celebrations (New Years Eve, awards season, Valentine’s Day, March Madness, Spring Break, 420, Independence Day, Halloween, etc..) that come together to tell a specific story about what it means to be human.
But how we tell time, the rituals we keep, and the holidays we commemorate form us into certain kinds of humans. Far from innocuous, these holidays function like sign posts, pointing us toward what the world believes will bring us ultimate human fulfillment (wealth, fame, success, power, and sex). So the question is: What kind of people are all these rituals forming us to be?
As Christians who long to be faithful witnesses to the countercultural way of Jesus, we must continue to challenge the cultural norms, practices, and traditions that tempt us to root our lives in pop culture’s story instead of the story of Christ. As theologian Stanley Hauerwas writes, “To live like Jesus is Lord is going to make my life dysfunctional in relationship to a good deal of American practices.” That’s why following the Christian calendar is not only so important, but utterly subversive. How we tell time and what we choose to commemorate is one simple way to resist the dominant cultural narrative.
If you aren’t as familiar with the Christian calendar, it starts by telling time radically different from the pop cultural calendar. Instead of telling the story of fame and fortune, it announces the story of Jesus. First, the year begins with Advent (not on January 1). It then moves into the 12 days of Christmas, followed by Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, and the long, mundane season known as Ordinary Time.
As the Christian calendar moves from one spiritual season to another, and as we journey closer to the penitent season of Lent, invite your family into a new way of telling time. By shaping your life around a different narrative, you have the ability to invite your kids into a new world, a world centered on Christ and not themselves.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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