Because of expected ice storm on Sunday January 9, only 8:30 worship will take place onsite.

January 26, 2023

A Pastoral Word. . .

Pastor Mark Adams

January 26, 2023
Way back in my youth ministry days I read a book by Merton Strommen, The Five Cries of Youth, in which Strommen shares the results of his research into the lives of teens.  His book is organized around five “cries” --- five issues that all adolescents experience. The most “popular” cry is self-hatred.  Teens often feel they don’t look right or act “cool” enough to be accepted by others. Even at 68, I remember feeling that way. If teens experiencing this “cry” don’t feel loved by their peers they do something to make them stand out so as to get the attention they yearn for. In my day it was long hair. These days it is often something more serious.

In fact, I believe this “cry” has helped fuel the popularity of the transgender movement. It’s a way for teens who don’t feel accepted to be accepted. It’s a way for teens who feel like they don’t have a voice to get one. It’s a way for youth who don’t feel significant…well, you see where I’m going.

This week I came across a book by New York Times columnist, Abigail Shrier in which she goes in depth into the serious harm being caused to American pre-teen and teenage girls. It’s entitled,  Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. Numerous interviews of girls who desire to transition reveal some of the causes are not just uncertainty with their gender, which is experienced by many and soon outgrown.

The primary causes she lists are:
  • Low self-esteem because of impossible beauty standards. (Strommen’s “cry”)
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • The postings of cool social media influencers who advocates passionately for kids to choose to transgender at any sign of ambivalence.
  • General media pro-transgender advocacy.

Surprisingly, she says that a large part of the problem is excessively coddling parents who give their young daughters no reason or opportunity to rebel. She writes:

“Is this transgender craze partially the result of over-parented, coddled kids desperate to stake out territory for rebellion? Is it a coincidence that so many of these kids come from upper middle-class white families, seeking cover in a minority identity? Or is it the fact that they overwhelmingly come from progressive families? Raised with few walls, they hunt for barriers to knock down.

The teen years are naturally tumultuous. Teens get emotional as they learn and mature. Parents are supposed to set limits. If you have a fight with your teenager, she might be angry with you, but she’ll feel the presence of a guardrail. Sometimes, just knowing it’s there may be enough. Your teenager may tell you she hates you; she may even believe it. But on a deeper level, some of her need for individuation and rebellion may be satisfied. If you eliminate all conflict through endless agreement and support, it may only encourage her to kick things up a notch.”

It's hard being a parent---always has been---and lovingly disciplining our teens goes a long way to helping them resist the pull of this fallen world. It makes them know they are loved and accepted by the most important people in their lives: their moms and dads. With this “guardrail of love” they are less likely to succumb to society’s pressures.  As Proverbs 13:24 says, “Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.”

Keep the SON in your eyes!
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