Tonight I went to a drug awareness seminar at our high school. It was pretty intense. I would describe it, but I bet that most of you could describe it for me. There were some law enforcement guys there telling horror stories about teenagers and drugs and showing some of what the drugs looked like and what to look for.
It was a good program and you could really tell that the people who were putting it on really have a heart for teenagers. They are doing it tomorrow for the whole school too. What hurts my heart, though, is that all of their videos and pictures and statistics probably won’t change anything, because what the whole thing boils down to is saying that drugs are bad. Granted they are saying that drugs are very bad, and some of the stories and pictures really made me realize how bad they are. But just saying that drugs are bad isn’t going to change the actions of teenagers.
I think most teens know that drugs are bad even the ones who are doing it. It is just like most teens understand that people die in car crashes, but most of the still drive like maniacs. Or how teenagers understand that when you have sex people get pregnant, but somehow girls and guys are always shocked when it happens to them. The thing is teenagers have a hard time putting consequences with actions. I don’t know why that is, but I know that it is true. Looking back there were all sorts of things that I did wrong that I knew was wrong and that I really didn’t want to do, but I did anyway because it felt right at the time. I think that is why when you ask them why do they do these things they just shrug and say “I don’t know” they really don’t think things through.
Of course many of the same things are true for adults too. Teenagers are our favorite whipping boys, but we as adults do the same things. There are sins in my life and I am sure that there are in your life too that we just keep going back to like pigs to mud. We know that they are wrong and a seminar on how wrong those sins are doesn’t do much more than make us feel guilty. We know that we are wrong, but there is something in our heart that likes the instant gratification much better than waiting even 5 minutes for what God says is right. Paul even had struggles with this saying “what I want to do I don’t do and what I don’t want to do I do.” (very loose translation)
But to bring this back to teens and drugs I don’t know how we are supposed to reach them. These people putting on the drug seminar are doing all that they can, but in the end there must be a change of thinking on the part of teenagers that no amount of information can really facilitate. Teenagers and adults too are very skilled at separating their life into beliefs and actions. They can believe anything in the world and act in any way even if the two are contradictory because they are two separate parts of their lives. Pumping more information into the system doesn’t get to the heart of the matter that we are all living segregated lives.
So for real change to happen in the life of a teenager it will take more than just more information it will take a miracle, a literal God showing up and speaking truth to their heart miracle. For real change to happen teenagers must seek after God and his love for their lives and ask him to tear down the wall between what they know and how they act. Until that happens we as adults can talk to them until we are blue in the face and they will never change. We can threaten and encourage and try to educate, but until they reach out to God they will always fall victim to their own desires their own whims. And the same is true for all of us.
With all of that being said I think that young teenagers are being asked to make real life changing decisions way to early in their lives and that is the fault of the parents or responsible adults in their lives.
Parents need to be much more vigilant about the lives of their teenagers. I know that everyone believes that their own children are perfect, but parents have to start allowing their children to grow up slower and be forced to make decisions about sex and drugs much later in life.
My parents were always involved in my life. I didn’t ride in a car with another teenager until after my parents died (I was 15 at the time). They were at my parties and school dances, they were picking me up and dropping me off and they made sure that they knew not only my friends, but my friends parents as well. Now I did do so dumb stuff when they were still around, but I never had to make decisions about drugs or even alcohol until I was much older because they were always around. Because of that when it came time to make those decisions I was able to make better choices.
I know I’m not a parent, but parents are way too lenient and hands off in my opinion. I have kids who have come to my church for years and the only time they have met me is when I have gone to their house. I am amazed that parents would trust me to fill their children’s minds with stories about God without even taking the time to get to know me. Parents need to remember that their teens are their responsibility. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries. I know for me one thing that I know to be true. If my parents hadn’t died and had continued to look out for me the way they did I wouldn’t have messed up near as much as I did. I have lived with rules and without rules and trust me I love rules.
Alright his has gone on long enough. I am going to bed now.