Yesterday it was my joy and privilege to share with 12 preteens and teens during the traditional Sunday school time at my friend's church. I came away encouraged again about these generations. Seriously, if you haven't spent time lately with teens, please do. You'll then be able to reject media's lie that they're all lost, all selfish and all entitled. These kids were "all" something, but not those things.
The very beginning encouraged me. They didn't know what I'd be speaking about because I didn't want to bias them toward a topic. I began by asking them: "What are your values? What matters to you?" They answered:
|* Friendship||* Education|
|* Small Church Family||* My Rabbits|
|* Time With Family||* Laughter|
|* Trying to Find Truth||* Small Sunday School Class|
|* Friends||* Children|
|* Music||* Faith|
After asking them about technology they do and do not use, I cautioned them to be careful. As I briefly taught about each lie, they began to see that their use of technology could change their values. They listened intently. Their values are good ones and important. (I wish you could have heard about the rabbits.)
They reacted strongly to the possibility that technology could influence them to believe happiness was what they should seek. With each example I shared from chapter five in Screens and Teens, they understood more and more.
To lead them away from the lie that happiness is what we must have, I asked them what God might want us to seek and prioritize. Quickly, they listed the following. I was impressed and encouraged. I added the Bible verses here. I imagine if we would have had time, they could have quoted some that were relevant.
Knowing Scripture matters. Knowing God and His desires for us matters. Yes! What would your children list if you asked them what God wants them to prioritize? What you want them to prioritize? Are we making ourselves clear or have we given into the lie?
Know Him. "And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 17:3).
Love one another. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).
Thankfulness. "And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful" (Col. 3:15).
Follow Him. "And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me" (Matt. 10:38).
Pick up our cross. "Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me'" (Matt. 16:24).
Faithful. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23); "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight" (Prov. 12:22).
Praise Him. "For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and he is to be feared above all gods" (1 Chr. 16:25).
Preteens and teens listed these priorities. Impressive! They are "all" mature. All about God. All curious. All obedient. All interested. All supportive.
As I write in my book, we cannot put kids from these generations in boxes. They have similarities and most prioritize happiness. Yet, there are young people like these who want more out of life. Praise God!
Again, I ask, what would your children list?
Dr. Kathy Koch is the author of Screens & Teens: Connecting with Our Kids in A Wireless World (Moody, March 2015).
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