My Canadian sister-in-law, Melissa, is a paediatric nurse, currently working at a University Hospital in the Middle East. When I’ve asked her, “What is the top health issue for teenagers today?”, she very quickly responds, “Mental Health.” As I travel the world over and wrap my head and heart around the 1.75 billion teenagers of this planet I think Melissa’s diagnosis is inextricably wedded to a loss of moral moorings.
My two daughters, Jolyn (13) and Joy (11), are bombarded with mixed messages by their school, in the media and even from their peers about who is Adam and who is Eve. More and more parents of daughters in North America are hearing this phrase – “Daddy, today there was a boy in my bathroom”. As parents, Marilyn and I have encouraged our girls’ mental growth and health by helping to affirm their God-given identity as young women.
There’s another wave that is washing over many teenagers around the world – what’s the point of marriage and what is marriage in fact? Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure. So many young people are choosing to live together first, to “try it out.” But where’s the commitment, the accountability, the joy and trust and assurance of “forever”? I’ve been dating Marilyn for 32 years now and happily married for 29 of those years! Marriage is a place of stability, strength and even solace – facing life’s onslaught together, in love and in life. Too often we don’t intentionally and deliberately celebrate marriage – yet a strong marriage is the best place from which to parent!
The role of Youth for Christ is to love and lead a generation with clarity, conviction and compassion. Many teens are being pulled out to sea by strong confusing undertows. Have you ever lost your footing in the ocean and felt that pull? It’s terrifying. But when your feet touch the ground again, you breathe a huge sigh of relief. Pray that the Kingdom of God, that we who represent the Creator, would bring relief to this generation.