How do I teach my teen to make a difference in this world? Here are six ways:
I have recently re-engaged the Facebook world, after taking a few years away from it. (Today is not the day to explain that sentence, but perhaps I will do so soon.) At the time of this writing, it seems my feed is flooded with impassioned posts regarding: gun control, LGBT rights, ISIS, the wonderful potential of each US presidential candidate, the horrible potential of each US presidential candidate, Radical Islam, Christianity, haters, and the list goes on and on. We are all painfully aware that our world seems to be increasingly filled with evil, corruption, hatred, violence, and ignorance.
What are we to do about it? And as parents, what can we do to train and equip our children and teens to make a difference? Can they make a difference? Is there anything we can do to actually empower them to be agents of change in this world that seems to be growing increasingly ugly? As followers of Christ, we have been filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Surely that gives us some kind of power with which we can fight back against the tide of evil. There must be something in particular we can do to teach our young people how to improve the world around them. But what?
Well, here is a simple list of six actions we can take, as outlined by our Lord in Matthew 25:31-46. And this is about as practical as it gets!
- Give food to the hungry.
- Give drink to the thirsty.
- Welcome the stranger into your home.
- Give clothes to the one without something decent to wear.
- Visit the sick.
- Visit the prisoner.
Don’t think these are really so important in the grand scheme of things? Doubtful these simple actions can help your teen change the world? Well, Jesus seemed to think these are the kinds of acts that matter for all eternity. And, interestingly enough, I didn’t see anywhere in his narrative an admonition for us to be sure we post lots of powerful stuff on Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Instagram. Or our blogs.
He told us to make a difference in the lives of the people who live in arm’s reach of us. He instructed us to show compassion to those who need it most. He urged us to give what we have, without keeping track of it. He called us love well and share generously. And this remains His call to us today – to live as he showed us how to live.
Our teens are watching us to learn how to make a difference in this world. And how we treat the people around us will make a FAR greater impact upon them, and upon the world through them, than whatever message we shout from our digital billboards.