CHALLENGES FACING OUR YOUTH
by Melba Edwards
As a mother and grandmother, I think we sometimes get wrapped up in our own world we don’t realize the things our sons, grandsons and even great grandsons deal with every day. I asked a few young people, male and female, teenagers to early twenty’s, to give me a list of challenges they deal with on a daily basis at school/work. Here’s what they had to say.
“Sure thing. Cussing, immodest dress, peer pressure to cuss, drink alcohol, the challenge to keep desires in check. That’s mainly what I can think of.”
“I think something most struggle with is trying so hard to fit in with the rest of the crowd which could hinder you from showing people where you truly stand and you may feel about certain things. It’s hard sometimes to go against the flow because for some reason you want everyone to like you. I also think a big one that goes with that is just standing up for yourself when everyone is saying one thing but you know how you really feel about that topic but you either just agree with everyone else or don’t say anything at all. Extra-curricular activities and just homework in general can sometimes lead to conflicts in your schedule especially with church so laying out your priorities would be another big one. Feeling too overwhelmed and stressed out even over things that there is no reason to be is definitely something I feel like everyone can relate to. “
“Well pretty much everything.. in just the short time ive been at school the language is terrible.. everyone uses bad language in every sentence they say.. i’ve seen transgender.. people smoking.. immodesty.. kids asking others to go out and drink.. any kind of worldliness.”
“Hey Melba! I apologize for taking so long, I kept getting distracted. But here’s a few issues I thought of. I hope it helps! Cursing is a big issue I think a lot of younger people deal with. Even in college, a lot of professors will curse a few times during class. I think it goes with evil company corrupts good habits. If you don’t make an effort the words can sneak into your mind without you consciously thinking about them. Another challenge is the amount of people that are opened about how much they drink. I know at my high school there was a lot of people that would go out drinking all weekend or even a few days during the week. And there was even a couple of people that would come to school after drinking. So I think that it could be very easy for someone to fall into temptation when they know several people who are constantly drinking and don’t seem to suffer from it. And then I think another issue that especially girls face is the expectation to always have a boyfriend. I’m not sure how to word it but it’s almost like you’re looked down upon by some people for not wanting to always have a boyfriend and for not having intercourse before marriage. I’m not sure if that made sense. Another major issue is with the LGBTQ community and not agreeing with it. When you’re open about why you don’t agree with it, there are some people that just want to argue about and be very hateful. I hope this helps and I hope it makes sense for the most part.”
“Hey sorry I’ve been crazy busy but my biggest 3 things that I can think of would be Cussing. People asking me to smoke weed. People asking me to drink alcohol. And these things are every single day. Just mainly peer pressure stuff.”
“Yeah sure. Since I am homeschooled I personally don’t face a lot of challenges daily but when I am out in the world and see other kids the hardest thing is probably just trying to do what’s right when everyone else isn’t. And every time you see a teenager they have a phone on or some gadget kids today don’t seem to go outside or do productive things anymore.”
I don’t know about you, but reading what young people face, brought tears to my eyes. This writing is to wake us up, mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers and women professing godliness! Our youth are in a den of lions. Our youth have more than one Goliath. Some of our youth probably feel like Joseph and all the challenges he faced. Our youth try to flee like David when Saul tried to kill him. Our youth have been placed in a fiery furnace.
Youth have lusts. They are physically changing in every way: their bodies, their thinking, (no longer dolls and toy trucks), their emotions, hormones, just to list a few. With these changes, there are youthful lusts. You can read the lists above and see the lusts our youth are facing daily.
How do we help our youth? We teach them the holy scriptures, just like Lois and Eunice, (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). We pray for them, because, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” (James 5:16). We give them instruction and the fear of the Lord, (Proverbs 1:7-9). We warn them about the strange woman in Proverbs 5. We warn them about drinking and its consequences, (Proverbs 23:29-35). We stress how important it is to control their tongue, (James 3:3-12). We teach our young ladies to “adorn themselves in modest apparel,” (1 Timothy 2:9). We expound Hebrews 10:25 which reads, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (By the way, we need to read a few more verses to get the context of this verse.) Many more Scriptures we try to instill in our young.
But we need to put ourselves in their place. I wasn’t pressured with these things daily. When I was their age, what was transgender? Where were the homosexuals? (They were there, as it has been said, in the closet). Weeds were what I had to chop out of the corn field and garden. Our youth have tremendous pressures today. They need our years of strength to help them through this short time in their lives. We need to let them know we are there for them. We need to encourage them to keep the Lord right beside them. These youth are not just our own flesh and blood. They are our sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters in the Lord!
I also asked these youth to tell me what their spiritual family and their physical family can do or does to help them in these areas. Again, more tears!
“For me especially is presenting opportunities to see other teens who are Christians trying to do what’s right. It makes it a lot easier if you have a lot of friends who are your age trying to do what’s right.”
“I think just being around them especially on Wednesday’s because when you go to school for a few days you’re surrounded by that kind of bad stuff, but then there’s this spot right in the middle of the week that kind of reminds you what you should be doing and helps you push through the rest of the week. And it’s not only the study and worship, it’s what happens after the services, the personal conversations and talking, just knowing that you have people around you that really do care.”
“Hey Melba! It really helps to go through and search the scriptures for passages that help guide me if I’m particularly struggling with something. One verse I think about a lot is 1 Cor 10:13. It’s comforting to know that He will never allow something to be put in your way that He doesn’t think you can handle. He knows our strength more than we do. A lady gave me a basket of goodies before I left and something in there was a little sign that reads “verse of the week”. It’s been a great motivation to search the scriptures if I have been struggling with something or to just read further for the lessons for class. Also, going to services is a great strength builder. I love being around like minded people who genuinely care. And I’ve found that if I’ve been thinking about or struggling with something, there always seems to be something in Bible class or the lesson that can help. Again, I hope I made sense and that it helps!”
“They provide comfort and are people I know I can talk to and rely on when I may be struggling in these different situations and can help in guiding me into the right direction “
“For me, it just helps when people encourage me and remind me to stay strong. Just to think that we have a greater goal in mind as a spiritual family. And then just with your physical family obviously being there to talk and things like that”
“Well my spiritual family helps me by just being who they are. Obviously there is a big difference in the people at church opposed to the people of the world. I can go to church and not have any of those worldly distractions or pollution entering my brain. At church there are no temptations but instead everyone there encourages and stands behind you only wanting to help you get to Heaven. They have the same views and they see church and God as number 1. Opposed to the world who view them as fairy tales or not important. So they help me by their examples and encouragement and just by being Christians and helping me be a Christian if that makes sense. But of course my physical family do a lot. My family is who makes me who I am today.. I have the best parents and grandparents in the world because I know how much they love me and I know that they would do anything for me and they have already done everything for me and I don’t know what to do to repay them.. I just hope they know how much I appreciate them and how much I love them. Now, I dont know how to explain what they do for me because they do everything haha from supporting me and helping me with my homework to providing for me and giving me the best life I could imagine. I am so blessed to have such a great family who are not only perfect physically but are so great spiritually. Raising me up in the church is something I could never thank them enough for.. along with everything else. But they help me by supporting me, helping me, encouraging me, pushing me to do better, ultimately by loving me.. and doing everything that a perfect family should. And to me as long as your family loves you.. or you love someone.. that love causes everything else to fall into place. And I see that in my family. But more importantly when a family is all in unity spiritually and they all have the same love for God that too allows everything to fall into place. Without God at the forefront of our relationships it will not work.”
I think this says it all! May God bless our young Christians! May we do all we can for them on their road to heaven! May they continue to always, “…be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might,” (Ephesians 6:10).