Surprising and Encouraging Research

We all assume young people are taking the sexual revolution to new levels.  We are not wrong to assume this, as people like Miley Cyrus and every other young pop singer have given us a window into the Millenial ethos…. but Relevant Magazine recently published an article responding to research in New York Magazine that shows 40% of college students have never had sex before.  This is up from 13% of college students just a few years before hand.

Here’s the article:

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/current/why-arent-millennials-having-sex-anymore

Though this change may not be the result of theological or personal conviction regarding God’s purpose for sex, it is encouraging to see that the power of sex, and the effect of sin, are being felt and responded to on some level.  It is a step in the right direction – but we cannot be satisfied thinking that less young people are hooking up or sleeping around.  We must encounter them with the life-changing power of the gospel.  Behavior does not save, only faith in the atoning work of Christ on the cross… “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)

Disagree to Disagree

A 10-year study has found that disagreeable teens tend to turn into disagreeable adults.

Read this:

http://www.npr.org/2015/06/16/414831873/disagreeable-teens-fail-to-understand-their-blind-spots-research-reveals

Yes, it’s true.  Teens have trouble empathizing in general.  Given the rise in technology as a barrier for face-to-face communication, empathy is a skill that now needs to be intentionally taught.  I find the study in the article interesting, but not hopeless.  Yes, many teens who are selfish or disagreeable grow up to stay that way.  However, there are many vehicles for changing this sort of behavior.  Team sports is a great one – it teaches teamwork, social dynamics, and the all-too-forgotten skills of winning and losing with grace.  Scouts teaches team dynamics and respect.  Other programs or social activities can be useful, but they are all about instilling value and behavior modification.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about modifying behavior or even changing priorities.  The Gospel is about the transformational work of Christ’s death on the cross, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the love and acceptance of the Father despite our brokenness.  Talk to your kids about the Gospel and how it affects their social dynamics.  Respect, empathy, and even listening skills will come as a result of the work of God in their hearts as they follow in the footsteps of Jesus.  Everything else is just behavior modification.

The Teenage Brain

Yes, it’s true.  Your teenager’s brain is an idiot.  But it’s supposed to be!  According to research, the brain is only about 80% developed by adolescence, and it isn’t until age 25-30 that our brains are fully developed.

Read this:

http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/theres-a-reason-why-teenagers-act-the-way-they-do/2229651

We can’t stop our kids from doing all the things their idiot brains tell them to do, but we can mitigate destructiveness or rebellion.  Spend time with your kids.  Help them.  Love them.  Try to understand them.  Don’t be reactive.  Most importantly, share the gospel with them and live the gospel alongside of them.

Matt