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View August 2011 Issue >>
 

7 Things Your Teen Needs To Know

Everyone is looking for love and affection; it is one of the greatest human needs. The Bible has a lot to say about love, but most teens are only listening to the media’s message, which is that love is shown through sex and physical acts.

Encouraging purity
Teens need to hear the truth and protect their hearts, souls and bodies from a shallow degrading lie. Our organisation, Youth Corporation, has an abstinence programme called TAG’D which combines cool, visual dog tags emblazoned with Scripture to give kids an identity rooted in Christ’s purity. We combine the tags with a curriculum called Focus on Relationships, which is used in schools and youth groups. We teach the following truths:

1. The enemy wants to destroy you
Life is full of brokenness and our children are exposed to things prematurely. Our five senses are constantly bombarded with  messages that impact young minds, and create experiences that shape their thinking. Your child has wounds from being exposed to this world and its thinking and the enemy will keep on attacking them without stopping. We need to get involved and challenge their mindsets and guard our children.

2. There are two models
The movies teach us one model of how relationships work - sex comes first (and often easily) and love follows later. Commitment is fleeting and if a guy doesn’t get what he wants, he moves on to the next girl. Divorce is now ‘normal’ according to the media, and is an easy way out of marriage. We need to teach our children the Bible’s model for relationships which begins with abstinence and ends with a sexual commitment in marriage.

3.True love sacrifices
Kids need to know that true love is not dictated by one’s hormones or by infatuation and attraction. True love is demonstrated by honouring the other person, respecting them and laying down your life for them in a  marriage covenant. (1 John 3:16)

4. Know about the ANC

Attraction, Nearness (Phileo) and Commitment must follow in this order. Most of the time teens feel attracted and get together in commitment straight away, without first getting to know each other as friends in nearness. Attraction is not the glue that keeps relationships together, nearness is. 

5. Know why to embrace purity
Teens won’t stay pure and embrace this lifestyle if they don’t understand why. Learning about the love God has for us (and the different types of love He has created such as Phileo, Agape and Eros) will help teens walk the narrow road and choose to wait. Agape, Phileo and Eros are different words used by the Bible to describe love for different people in differed capacities in our lives. Eros love which is physical, passionate love, is to be shared in the boundary of marriage.

6. Predecide to wait
Trying to make a decision on the spur of the moment to stay pure, will never succeed. Teens need to follow the ABCD principle:
• Accountable: choose a few close friends to regularly speak to about your goals and struggles
• Boundaries: set boundaries as to what is acceptable according to the Bible. Decide before hand what you will and won’t do in the context of a friendship, and let this guide your behaviour
• Commitment (to ABC above) : your child should have a strong conviction that this is the way you do life. Now while they are young, in their school work, future marriages and even in their jobs one day. The A.B.C.D. principles build strong character
•Discipline: sometimes it will be tough sticking to your principles and standing
out from the crowd. Don’t give up!
 
Not every one is having teen sex, not every one is smoking or taking drugs. The few that do, make the majority feel bad that they don’t. Bad character is available everywhere, good character needs to be worked at. 2 Tim 2:22 says to group yourself with others and to flee youthful desires. It’s much easier to stay strong when you have friends standing with you. Encourage your teen to take a stand and do what you can to support their decision.

by Fanie Bolleurs

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