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Illustration:Statistics and Stuff
Percentage of American teens who say they want to be like their parents: 39%.
Charis Conn, Ed., What Counts: The Complete Harperís Index.
Illustration:Iím not much of a gardener. Once I took a seed catalog and started out the door. "Where are you going with that?" my wife asked. "Iím going to show it to my tomatoes," I explained.
Today, more than at any other time in history, young people are looking for examples. Youth are looking for direction about many things but especially in the area of character formation. Paul gave Timothy guidelines in this passage for everyone who wants to know how to minister from a youthful perspective. Paul also wants to supply people who are forming their lifeís perspective guidelines that will provide stability, well being and a Spirit blessed life pattern. Today we live in a world where most young people get their perspectives from TV, movies or their peers. Young people tend to be idealistic and are looking for ideals that they can set their moral compass with.
Illustration: George Lawton captures many young peoplesí attitudes in his list of guidelines for meeting adolescentsí hopes:
1. Stand by us, not over us
2. Make us feel we are loved and wanted.
3. Train us by being affectionately firm.
4. Bring us up so we will not always need you.
5. Try to be as consistent as possible.
6. Donít try to make us feel inferior.
7. Say, "Nice work," when we do something really well.
8. Show respect for our wishes even if you disagree with them.
9. Give direct answers to direct questions.
10. Show interest in what we are doing.
11. Treat us as fi we are normal, even when our conduct seems peculiar to you.
12. Teach us by example.
13. Treat each of us as a person in his own right.
14. Dontí keep us young to long.
15. We need fun and companionship.
16. Make us feel our home belongs to us.
17. Donít laugh at us when we use the word "love".
18. Treat us as a junior partner in the firm.
19. Make yourself as an adult fit for a child to live with.
20. Prepare us to lead our lives, not yours.
21. Give us the right to a major voice in our lives.
22. Let us make our own mistakes.
23. Permit us the failing of average young people just as we permit you the failings of average parents and youth leaders!
The better a parent or youth worker understands the problems youth face as well as their needs the better they will be able to understand and relate the biblical message to them. By keeping in touch with young people by being a good listening, one can learn to enhance the effectiveness our communication. It all begins by being an example in the following five areas:
1. BE an example in not allowing others to diminish the importance of what you are doing as a parent or as a youth leader. Timothy had to refuse to be discouraged from those who might have thought he was too young or inexperienced to Pastor. People will break our hearts if we let them, but donít let them. David wrote, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in the time of trouble. Therefore we will not fear... for there is a river that makes glad the city of our God." (Psa 46:1,2) When we are feeling inadequate we can draw upon the rivers of living waterís nourishment, adequacy and power that supplies
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