Why Teens Don't Take Your Advice | February 21, 2020
Three Things This Week
1. Tylenol Heals All Wounds
What it is:A new study suggests that taking acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) could ease emotional pain.
Why it’s a slippery slope: Teenagers taking over-the-counter meds for a day or two for, say, sore muscles is no big deal, right? So should we be worried if they start using them to relieve their broken hearts? According to the study’s author, “Experiencing a socially painful life event, like a relationship break-up, is one of the strongest predictors of developing depression in adolescence,” so there might be positive long-term effects of easing that discomfort. But as one therapist points out, “Many people who ended up addicted to opioids in the US started out looking for a quick fix.” Before teens hear about the research and decide to test it for themselves, talk with them about the pros and cons, as well as how turning solely to meds—in lieu of also addressing the spiritual and relational components—can go south quickly.
2. Wasted Wisdom
What it is: Ever had a moment when you felt you and your teenager/student really connected, only to find they didn’t take any of the advice you gave them? (No? We’ve totally never had that either…)
Why it happens: An insightful article by author and psychologist Lisa Damour gives adults a glimpse into the teenage psyche (gasp!) to understand what’s going on. She suggests this often happens because we’re not giving teens what they want, meaning they don’t always tell us their woes and problems to get answers. They know that most of their struggles can’t actually be solved; instead, they come to us because “having a problem is not nearly so bad as feeling utterly alone with it.” In addition, constantly rushing in with solutions can come across as “a vote of no confidence when they are mainly seeking our reassurance that they can handle whatever life throws at them.”
3. Rhett & Link
What it is: This week, in two podcast episodes, two extremely popular and influential YouTubers known as Rhett & Link revealed they are no longer Christians.
Why it’s shattering: As this thoughtful article from Church Leaders points out, social media makes anything influencers and celebrities do feel much more personal than in the past: “When your child’s favorite social media personality...shares a major decision, this is having significant impact on how she thinks, processes, and acts.” If your kids are fans of the duo, this could be extremely shocking and faith-shattering for them, but they may never tell you about it. We highly recommend listening to the two episodes (Rhett’s and Link’s), reading through some of the comments (many are from young people!), and reading Church Leaders’ article. As the author says, situations like this demonstrate that “we need a new kind of discipleship: One that intentionally elevates belonging, relationships, and much-needed conversation.”
We. Are. Dust.
We cannot truly celebrate the end of anything without first starting at the beginning. That’s why on Wednesday, Christians around the world will gather in worship to “remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of penance ending in the celebration of Easter. Scholars believe this season pre-dates the established Church, with evidence first-century disciples formalized a time of intentional self-reflection, taking seriously Jesus’ command to “deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me.” Lent is a season of pain and promise, dying and rebirth.
Lent is an opportunity to align our souls more deliberately with the Spirit of God. But joining Jesus on the journey to Jerusaleum isn’t easy, especially in a world of instant gratification, limitless distraction, and mind-numbing entertainment. So this year, be intentional about preparing your homes and hearts for Easter by participating in the Lenten journey. Here are six practical ways your family can take on the mind of Christ this liturgical season.
- Attend an Ash Wednesday service: Find a liturgical congregation to attend, receive the imposition of ashes and then spend the rest of the day awkwardly walking around with the sign of the cross on your head meditating on your finite existence.
- Fast and pray: Choose a day each week (not Sunday!) to fast. Instead of having dinner as a family, come together to pray.
- Sacrifice: Select something meaningful to give up during Lent (social media, TV, etc.). The absence of certain luxuries can create the space to contemplate God’s will in new ways.
- Serve: It’s one thing to deny yourself a luxury or habit, it’s quite another to pick up something else in its place. Choose an activity or service project to embody your love for humanity during this season.
- Repent: We live in a dehumanizing, hyper-sexualized, violent culture malforming us into its own image. How are we complicit in creating this culture and what might we need to turn away from as we reclaim our divine image in Christ?
- Read: Start a family for Lent. Bread and Wine, a collection of meditations is a great book to use. Or, to learn more about practicing Lent with your family, check out our Parent’s Guide to Lent.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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