The Modern View of Adolescence
I just finished reading Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. The authors entitled one of the chapters The Myth of Adolescence, which quickly got my interest and turned out to be my favorite part of the book. I quoted the following:
“The term adolescence literally means “to grow up.” This is true in a biological sense as well as in other aspects of maturity. We have no problem with that, or even with the word itself—you’ll notice that we still use the word teenager a lot. The problem we have is with the modern understanding of adolescence that allow, encourages, and even trains young people to remain childish for much longer than necessary. It holds us back from what we could do, from what God made us to do, and even from what we would want to do if we got out from under society’s low expectations”1.
I strongly agree with the Harris brothers. Our modern understanding of adolescence has placed teenagers in a position to excuse themselves from maturing and doing hard things. As I look at the lives of the teenagers around me, it seems that they weren’t as mature as I used to be when I was at their age.
I am not excusing myself from this phenomenon. I also viewed my adolescent years as time to enjoy life and be indifferent about the real things of life. I got addicted to video games in the latter part of my high school years. As a result, I lost my good standing in school and graduated with a lower rank (I could’ve graduated as the top student if only I focused on my studies).
I praise God that I came to know Him the summer after I graduated. There was a sudden shift in my life, especially in my priorities. I committed to do hard things (by that time, I didn’t know the term). I focused on my studies and grew my spiritual life. Eventually, I got involved in the youth ministry, and led and mentored a small group of male college students. I’m already past my teen years (I’m now 20) and I can say I’ve done some hard things, all because of the grace of God. Oh, the joy of the redeemed teenage years!
1Alex & Brett Harris–Alex & Brett Harris, Do Hard Things (Colorado Springs, Co.: Multmonah Books, 2008), 33.