1. Who Are They Talking To?
What it is: Light language is a style of speaking that claims to channel vibrations and communicate with beings not from earth. Posts that feature #lightlanguage are trending, with 237 million views on TikTok.
Why it’s a rabbit hole: Some observers are comparing #lightlanguage to the biblical practice of speaking in tongues—but that’s not really what it is. The trend does have a spiritual component, but it’s not of the Christian tradition. People who use “light language” believe they can speak the language of the universe. Those who attempt it don’t claim to understand what their sounds and utterances mean, but they are seeking a feeling of warmth and energy. TikTok users watching light language content may also end up on other related hashtags, including #starseed (people who believe they have come to earth through other dimensions with a mission to help humanity; 1.4 billion views). Welcoming foreign energies can be a dangerous prospect for anyone, but especially for the spiritually naive. With so much conversation about aliens, ancient civilizations, and UAP buzzing through culture, it’s a good idea to know how curious your teen is about these topics.
Start the conversation: Have you heard of a trend where people claim to channel energy to communicate with other dimensions?
What it is: A new acronym is taking the place of “LOL” and “ROFL.” The replacement? “IJBOL,” short for “I just burst out laughing.”
Why it makes sense to a younger generation: Young people understand that scrolling through social media isn’t typically punctuated by chortles, smiles, and giggles; the user might even sport a scowl as they scroll. IJBOL is meant to indicate a disruption to the run-of-the-mill scrolling session; it’s the bursting here that distinguishes the expression. There’s a suddenness to bursting out laughing, a moment of delighted surprise interrupting the sometimes mind-numbing experience. Of course, now that the adults in the room know about the term, it’s always possible that it will fall out of favor with Gen Z swiftly and violently.
Start the conversation: Do you use “lol” when you text about something funny with your friends, or do you use something different?
3. Back to Backpacking
What it is: As a new school year begins, teens might have mixed feelings of excitement, anxiety, and overwhelm.
How to approach this season: As Hannah King writes in Christianity Today, all seasons of transition bring with them an element of loss. Starting a new school year might mean making new friends, meeting new teachers, or starting a new curriculum. It can also mean the loss of free time, increased stress levels, and more difficulty creating intentional moments as a family. For parents, the beginning of a new school year might also feel like a reminder that time with their teens living at home is dwindling down, a feeling which can bring its own set of griefs, pressures, and regret. King recommends allowing space for teens and adults to name the things they’re disappointed about or not looking forward to, noting that repressed sadness can keep us from “entering freely into [the] joy” of a new thing.
Start the conversation: What will you miss the most about this summer?
Slang of the Week
Beige Flag: If green flags are positive things someone brings to a relationship and red flags are the negative things, then it would make some sense that “beige flag” would be the boring things someone brings to the relationship. Apparently, that’s what the term was originally supposed to mean, but browse #beigeflag on TikTok, and you’ll see that “beige flag” has morphed to mean the odd (often cute) habits or idiosyncrasies an individual has. Some examples of “beige flags” include thinking black clothes are all “goth” and not being able to eat without spilling food on yourself. The term seems to be most frequently used by baffled girlfriends trying to understand the weird things their boyfriends do.
Many of us are familiar with the verses in Isaiah 55, in which God declares: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
These words are often cited in situations when we don’t understand what God is doing, but the context of the passage also offers us comfort with a promise of His closeness: “My word… will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
Back-to-school season can leave parents and teens alike feeling confused, overwhelmed, and isolated. Marked transitions, like going off to college or moving from middle to high school, can carry with them the mixed emotions of anticipation and fear. Regardless of our coping mechanism of choice, the desire to establish stability on what feels like new, shaky terrain remains the same; we are prone to reach for anything that feels like it can offer a sense of certainty.
There are practical steps we can and should take to ease anxiety during transition periods, like making time to fully process our emotions and being intentional about where we spend our energy. But realistically, we can’t expect anything in our world to remain fixed. When cultural change is constant (and it always is), our certainty must come from elsewhere.
God’s promise in Isaiah 55 is that precisely because He is not like us, He is incapable of failing to bring us the joy and peace He wants for us. There is nothing in this life we can control, but there is nothing in this life that God can not control. The certainty we seek is found close to His heart. The only constant, even in times of rapid personal or cultural change, is His everlasting, unfailing power to bring us towards His beautiful peace.
Here are some questions to open up conversation with your teens:
- Do you ever feel overwhelmed by change? How do you cope with those emotions when they come up?
- How do you see other people your age dealing with uncertainty and transition? Do you think their choices are helpful?
- What are practical ways you can care for yourself and trust God to care for you when you’re struggling to find certainty?