Christianity was supposed to be about becoming like Jesus. We went in the wrong direction.
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Teenage Suicide


A child who is three years old when told, Yes, he can have a cookie tomorrow”, can be puzzled because he hears the word “yes” and “cookie” yet does not have a cookie. The concept of tomorrow lies outside his understanding of reality that can stretch from five minutes in the past to five minutes into the future. When the same child is a teenager, his perception of time may have increased to a week or two in the past and future.

In a Universe that may only be four weeks wide, things that go wrong can be magnified much larger than for a forty year old whose sense of time might be a decade or more. In addition, there is a change in thought process where a young teen finds the ability to think abstractly suddenly comes upon him. This depth of thought often first manifests as uncertainty and concern about what others think of him. It might be seen as suddenly waking up to find yourself telepathic. It would be overwhelming to be bombarded with the thoughts of others. However, after ten years or so, the effect would be less significant.

What teenagers lack is a frame of reference of accumulated experience from which current experiences can be moderated and given perspective. In the last 100 years families have shrunk in both depth and breadth. Prior to that, one’s closest friends were siblings and cousins. Today one’s friends are those in school. However, that is also where one encounters enemies. The volatility of emotional expression can also contribute to friends who become enemies.

The contemplation of suicide can be brought about by a crucial event or through a process of continual depression and hopelessness. Both are magnified in adolescence. Parents are often surprised at the speed at which a child can be overcome with hopelessness. Since it is common for teens to withdraw into themselves, parents can even be more surprised to learn of something that has devastated their child.

Since parents usually have an expanded frame of reference, they may even communicate a sense of triviality to their teens regarding their struggles further accentuating a feeling of isolation. Sometimes even a church youth group can increase feelings of isolation as they are often conducted in a similar way as school. Social media often even further amplifies the social problems of youth as it offers a Potemkin-like facade to the world behind which a real person exists even more concerned with how they are perceived.

It would be advantageous for a child to enter adolescence with a Christian frame of reference such that the world and the cruel people in the world would be understood for what they are. It would be useful for parents to be seen not as something of which to be ashamed but as sources of truth and love that could be depended upon. Additionally a slightly older peer that took a personal interest and could reinforce a Christian understanding of the world would help resist the “slings and arrows” of a world hostile to youth. Sadly, many Christian parents trust the world systems to raise their children.

Eph 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.



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