What teenagers really want: Fame, fortune and more

Famous teenagerRecent studies are saying that teenagers want to be famous. YPulse breaks it down to what they think young people are really saying:

1. They want to be validated and to receive constant attention and feedback (vs. feeling isolated and ignored)
2. They want to be discovered (not have to stress so hard about getting into good schools, what they will do for a career)
3. They want to be rich (not have to worry about money, be taken care of, possibly have money to take care of their own parents who may be struggling…and yes, to have lots of stuff)
4. They want to perform and entertain people (we all like to grab the karaoke mic once in a while, sing in the shower or fantasize about being Danny or Sandy in the Broadway production of “Grease.” The fact that reality TV is creating “American Idols” like Fantasia and Carrie Underwood who came from nothing, fuels this desire even more.)
5. They want to have fun (The hedonistic lifestyle that is sold to them through pop culture from “Entourage” to MTV looks like fun, does it not?)

The first one we can (and should) do in youth group.

The second we can also do, not in the sense of academics and careers, but in seeking them out from the community. Then go back to item #1.

The third we can’t provide, but we can teach and model lives that find security in Christ instead of money.

The fourth is easy — use them on-stage at youth group events. What’s not so easy, however, is teaching them at the stage is a platform for pointing kids to Jesus, not a place to gain selfish attention.

Hopefully we accomplish the last point, too. Youth group should be fun, not as it’s primary focus, but definitely as a defined core value.

Posted on January 16, 2007

  • Not to be antagonistic (or to sound like Jeff Goldblum), but even though we can do these things, I wonder if we should. I was just in my head thinking, is it good for the church to be a place that has to give constant attention? Or where they can be discovered? This is me working out some of my sin here, so bear with me.

    I have used a youth min model that allows teens to shine. There is nothing more with the model, but sometimes the need to shine became the need to show off and be better than others. There were always kids who needed attention and would take as much as you could spare. This seemed to alienate those kids from their parents at times.

    I do like the idea of helping kids see their sin in each of these and find their glory. Maybe you were already thinking along these lines, but what about asking that question for each of those needs.

    “They want to be validated and to receive constant attention and feedback (vs. feeling isolated and ignored)”

    How does that show your sin? How does that reveal your glory?

    Am I off track yet?

  • Tim

    Good points, Paul. I guess I was thinking more along the lines of being intentional about affirming and encouraging students more than making them the spotlight of attention. Everyone, regardless of age, needs to know they’re worth something, not only to other people but more importantly to God. I think we can love on kids and communicate God’s love for them without necessarily feeding into a sinful ego, ya know?

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