For some people, faith has always been there. Every Sunday the family jumps into the car together, it’s just part of the routine. But what about teenagers and young adults who aren’t born into families of faith? And what’s the best way for you support the teenagers in your life as they continue or start their journey of faith?
Have you ever woken up and been shocked to be in your life? I know all the books have characters not knowing where they are when they wake up, but what about a whole life? Have you ever been driving your car and wondered, what if cars didn’t exist? I’m sure many Christians who grew up in a Christian family have had similar thoughts about their faith. What if I grew up in an atheist family? Or a Hindu family? What if I was a dog instead of a human?
Sometimes, teenagers can feel trapped in who they are. There are countless novels and films which tell intense coming of age stories, and a lot of the time the protagonist just wants to change their lives.
So many teenagers want to change and grow up. In the context of faith this could be because they have unanswered questions. Or maybe they’re not being taught the right way. Sometimes teenagers just need a change of scene.
SRE classes seem to be the only real introduction many teenagers have to Christianity. It’s almost like a fossil hidden right under the surface, all it would take is someone to dig up the fossil, and then they would be discovered. Teenagers need a relatable and easy to access way to discover God otherwise they don’t have a chance to learn. In no way am I saying that all teenagers should be forced to undergo thorough education in only Christianity, but surely there is a better way to educate teenagers then a school lesson. Because let’s be honest, don’t they have enough of them already?
We’re taught to treat others the way we would like to be treated, but in the case of teenagers, I think that they should be treated the way you would have liked to be treated when you were younger. Don’t talk to a teenager like they’re a toddler but don’t talk to them as though they should have the knowledge of an 80 year old.
Being a teenager can obviously be extremely hard without the struggles of finding yourself in your faith as well. Finding or growing in faith could be the best thing that a teenager does but without the support of a congregation, or strong mentors, that journey will be infinitely harder.
So the next time a teenager asks you a theological question, don’t tilt your head and squint your eyes at them. Speak to them as they are, young adults trying to find their way.
“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” 1 Timothy 4:12
Susannah Cornford recently did work experience with the Insights Magazine team