Young Adults or Teenagers?
Historically, people my age have been referred to as young adults. However, in our modern culture, we have been termed "teenagers." The world allows "teenagers" to live lives separate from intimate relationships with their families, as the people they primarily live life with and are most influenced by are their friends, rather than their parents and siblings.
Calling me a teenager identifies me with a group of young people that tends to be wild and free from parental guidance and supervision. I personally don't like to be unsupervised with people my age because I honestly don't trust myself to maintain the things I have downloaded from my parents' teaching. I don't say this in a religious way. I'm still growing and maturing into the woman my parents are rearing me to be.
Calling a young adult a teenager is like calling a child a "kid." The meaning of the word "kid" is "rebellious goat." Why would we speak that over children we want to be obedient, submitted lambs? It feels the same when we call young adults teenagers. Referring to us as teenagers puts a label of immaturity, childishness, and sometimes even rebellion, on us. I don't want my reputation to be based on the qualities often displayed by many lost or deceived young people our culture groups into the category of teenagers.
In our society, teenagers, as well as younger children, are often seen as an irresponsible bother that get in the way of the success of adults. If the majority of parents were asked to describe their teenage son or daughter's level of responsibility, most would not have positive responses. The young adults I want to be like go above and beyond the expectations of their parents' authority. God is teaching me, one day at a time, how to avoid anything less than God's best.
We were made by a perfect God in His perfect image to reveal His beauty and character. Part of our responsibility in this calling is to act the way He acts, talk the way He talks, respond the way He responds. If we as young people strive to do these things, but are labeled by society as "teenagers" who don't typically represent the nature of God well, it can sometimes damage the confidence we're building as we diligently serve the King.
For example, a small child creates a masterpiece of blocks and runs to get his mother so she can praise his marvelous work. However, he returns with her to find that someone is tearing it down before his very eyes. Of course, his confidence would go, right along with the blocks. We're just like the child. We act the way the Lord has called us to and run to show Him our work! But when we return someone slaps us in the face by lowering us down to less than we have faithfully attempted to be. I am not implying that we are as mature and as wise as adults, but we are trying to be more than our culture expects us to be. So when people speak to us as though we're no different from the young adults that aren't trying, it's degrading.
I believe that from the beginning of time God intended for this generation of young people to rise up beyond the norm. Why would lost people want to listen to us if we're the same as them? We need to be in this world, but not of it. God smiles when we speak about a different way of life, yet in a way that draws people in, when we dress in a modest, yet stylish way, and when we serve our families with a happy heart. These counter-cultural qualities, when spoken about in ways they can relate to, are intriguing, and model God's design for His children.
ABBIE SIMMONS (15 years)
Waxahachie, Texas, USA