I’m part of a Moms in Prayer group for the area community schools. Unable to attend this year, I decided to do a prayer run around the buildings. I thought I was going to spend the time praying for the students, but I quickly became burdened to pray for parents.
A few years back I was a summer camp group leader for 8th-grade girls. While I expected them to share their boyfriend troubles or the effects of not being picked by a sports team or friend group, I was dumbstruck to hear them talking about parental addiction, disengagement, divorce, and their fear of not knowing if their home was safe. Our kids are having to grow up way too fast. Add a pandemic that further encouraged isolation and fear, coupled with the non-stop pressures of social media and the post-modern "my truth" movement, and this generation’s lack of hope starts to make sense.
Recent CDC statistics reveal 60 percent of teen girls report persistent sadness or hopelessness. Other reports question whether the reason this number is higher for girls than boys is that girls have the emotional language to describe these feelings. A further look into the eyes of teens makes me wonder if this statistic is deceivingly low.
Think about it:
If I determine what is true for me, then I am the solution and therefore my only hope.
If what I feel dictates what is true, there is no consistency and truth is not trustworthy.
If truth is always changing and different for everyone, then there is no hope.
Our kids are growing up in a very different world than we once knew. When I was a teen in the 90s there were no phones or social media to distract, deceive, bully, or isolate. Judeo-Christian values were still the country's priority so one did not feel outcasted or evil because of their value system. Attending church in person and participating in youth activities was always the norm for my family… “It was just what we did” so I did not question it,
Today, as a parent, we should question the following:
Are our kids learning how to interact, communicate, and problem-solve within a like-minded community OR are we allowing media and screens to mold them and what they believe?
Are our kids having to grow up too fast because of our parental decision-making OR complacency?
Are we teaching our kids values and where our hope lies OR allowing the world to determine them? Do we still hold to the values taught in the Bible OR a progressive a la carte version of Christianity?
Are we more concerned about being our kid's friends rather than showing and teaching them truth and discipline?
Are we telling, reminding, and modeling for our kids the hope we profess, OR have we ourselves forgotten?
Are we persevering with the call to stand firm in the faith OR are we forming a habit of sticking our heads in the sand?
These are convicting questions we should each consider. My prayer is that no one takes on condemnation but instead a heart of conviction because there is a HUGE difference. (Conviction vs. condemnation).
Looking back at my past, so many things were in place for me to thrive with hope, yet today, I still need constant reminding. What about you? Did you learn about the hope of Christ at an early age or later in life? How often today do you need to be reminded of where your hope lies?
How much more do our kids need to be introduced to and constantly reminded of this unwavering hope available for all who believe?
Romans 3:22-24 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (NIV)
This topic is too complex to address in just one post so there will be multiple to come. For now, I want each of us to take a hard look at our lives, both past and present, and ask God for eyes to see (Ephesians 1:18).
If you grew up knowing the hope of Jesus, how can you model, teach, and remind your children of it in both word and action?
If you did not learn of your hope until you were much older, how can you pass along this priceless gift to your kids at a young age?
If you have forgotten your hope, what steps can you take to remember and rekindle that light that brings peace and joy?
If you do not know this hope that is available to you, what steps can you take today to at least explore the possibility?
Hebrews 10:23-24 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.