I’ve been reading this book called Toward a Prophetic Youth Ministry. It’s main goal is to inform an inner-city youth ministry. I am not in the inner-city, however I found many helpful tips and ideas in the book. The last chapter I read was on the development of a teenager through adolescents. I had the basics of this knowledge before reading this chapter. I have a greater understanding now. As Fernando Arzola Jr. (the author) discussed the brain development, physical development, the involvement of emotions and hormones in all of this, I began to wonder. How much can we as youth leaders and parents do to really correct behavior that is not their conscience fault. It was connects with something I was talking to my Sr. Pastor about yesterday. Sure we can give them a set of rules to follow, but they are doing it to make either us happy, or Mommy and Daddy happy. What happens when they leave the home or our ministry? Do our guide-lines stick? Or do they toss them out the window and act however they want?
Most people who study adolescent development and behavior know that when they make bad decisions (especially in Jr. high) they really don’t know why they did it, it was probably more of an instinct than anything. How do we go about teaching correct etiquette and behavior when they can’t make a truly conscience and informed decision until their 20’s? (some believe that now full brain development doesn’t finish until about 30). As the adolescent stage of life gets longer as time goes on, will it be easier or harder for youth leaders and parents to do their jobs? Or will it become harder? The task is over-whelming without a doubt.
What are your thoughts on adolescent development and our response and youth workers and parents?