Ok, so let’s think of some things that adults can do that teens can’t: get a decent paying job, drive, pay bills, run for president, etc…
Wanna hear some things that teens *can* do that adults aallsssooo can do? Lemme tell you: impact lives, make a difference, fight for what’s right, be good leaders, be serious/intentional about relationships, drive (that’s only some of us, but that’s besides the point), and understand bigger issues than ourselves. Gasp. I know that seems super foreign but I kid you not.
So let’s break down some of the comments that teenagers get and why I think they’re absolutely crazy:
“You can’t _____ because you’re only a kid.”
Hahahahaha no. I’m starting with, what I think, is the worst of all. Can’t: a word that I’m trying my best not to use to describe things that I think I’m not capable of doing. Kid: a word, unless used in a joking manner, tells any teenager “Hey, I realize your age says you’re getting older, but I see you as 5 years younger and I will acknowledge you as such.”
In 1 Timothy 4:12 it talks about not letting anyone look at you like “just a kid” because you’re young. Be young doesn’t equal being irrelevant.
How to rephrase: “You can because you’re the future and heck, we like ya.”
“You don’t really know cause you’re only __ years old.”
Because I’m turning 16 here soon, I’m learning how to be an “older teen”. One of things I’ve been worked on for a few years now is learning to talk to people younger than me with as much respect as someone my own age or older. I don’t want to be accused of looking down on anyone because they are young, because that would literally contradict this subject that I’m so passionate about.
How to rephrase: “I know there are some things that are kinda hard for you do because you’re __ years old, but you can still do awesome things in the meantime.”
When I was 8, I remember looking at 16 as the age to be. Sixteen-year-olds were super popular, drove, had credit cards, and always got their nails done (I had pretty detailed visuals, ok?). (Almost) sixteen looks like I have friends, but I’m not super popular. I don’t drive, I don’t have a credit card, and my nails only get painted when I have time. We’re asked to somehow push the hands on the clock backwards when we’re little and then they think we should act grown up once we hit a certain age. That doesn’t make sense, does it?
How to rephrase: “Savor your time.”
*not just for teens
“We don’t really need you.”
If it wasn’t said out loud, sometimes it comes across that way with some adults. Remember when you told us that you were our age once? Remember that little number? I don’t know when the feeling of being unimportant and unwanted ever felt good. I’m guessing it didn’t when you were our age either.
How to rephrase: “You’re vital to the future. I really do think you’re important. Let me help you.”
We are the future. The future church, the future teachers, the future presidents, kings, and queens. We will help you handle your money and keep numbers for your business and design the billboards you pass everyday to work. We will sing the songs you hear on the radio and build the cars you drive.
We are the ones who will lift up your country and world in prayer. We are the ones who will lead the future “kids” into their future. Kind of amazing, huh?
We’re not just some “loser kids”. We are absolutely nuts. I will acknowledge that, ok? I’ll give you adults that one. The weird 6 year period called “the teenage years” are super difficult. They’re tricky, they’re heartbreaking, they’re challenging, they’re beautiful, and most importantly, I believe, they’re given to us to set the stage for when we become an adult. We have 6 years to lay the foundation for the rest of our lives. I say we should do something good with them, hm?
Hey, adults: we’re not “just kids”
Hey, teens: we’re capable of so much more than they claim on our behalf
Hey, preteens: they’re not the best years like adults try to tell you, but you sure learn a lot
Hey, Jesus: Help me algebra? Please?
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12
“Wake Me Up (Acoustic)” by Aloe Blacc from the album Lift Your Spirit (2014)