The Question Teens Ask
By Pastor Tom Anderson
Scientists conducted DNA tests on a frog to ascertain its ethnic identity. They confirmed it was 30% Russian, 30% French, 30% Italian, 5% British, 4% Finnish and a tad Pole.
Who am I? That is the burning question of every teen. It’s not a question a DNA test can settle either. It’s a question of knowing yourself: your talents, your dreams, your values, your core personhood. That is why as teens we spend much time experimenting and trying new pursuits and interests. We’re looking for our own identity. We’re seeking to establish ourselves. It’s an exciting process and also a dangerous one. As human beings we are easily led astray to identities and values which can be self-defeating and separate us from God.
Is what gets “liked” and “followed” on social media my true identity? The sad reality is that by collecting the “likes” of others, we are really letting the world tell us who we are. We are “crowd-sourcing” our identity. This isn’t a healthy search, it’s unhealthy manipulation by others.
Teens need time and space to try new things and explore a wide variety of interests and passions. They also need to know that God speaks to them. God has a plan and an identity for them in Jesus Christ. Identity is not a frantic and random search. Finding identity is a prayerful listening to God’s word to each of us. It is founded in scripture and the Gospel message to the human race.
I’ve come across a new series of booklets for parents called Parent’s Guide to True Identity.
The five guides in the Parent Guides to Finding True Identity bundle are for parents wondering what influences their teens today when it comes to identity and how to guide them to be the best version of themselves using biblical wisdom and engaging discussion questions. Here’s a quick rundown of each offering:
A Parent’s Guide to Teen Identity digs deep into the lies our culture tells Gen Z about their identity and worth, offers steps to uncover false beliefs, and gives practical tips to guide teens toward their true selves.
A Parent’s Guide to LGBTQ+ and Your Teen gives parents the vocabulary to discuss this culturally relevant topic with compassion and provides biblical wisdom concerning sexuality.
A Parent’s Guide to Body Positivity gives valuable insight into the body positivity movement, including how it began, its pros and cons, and why teen mental health is so deeply affected.
A Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders gives a solid overview of the types of eating disorders, what causes them, how and when to seek professional help, and strategies to discuss the topic with compassion.
A Parent’s Guide to Fear and Worry offers reasons why today’s teens are so overwhelmed by anxiety, tips to console them, and encouraging Bible verses to bring peace.
I’m a firm believer that teens thrive when they can have open and honest faith conversations with their parents. It’s my prayer that each of us will seek our core identity in Christian faith so that we can confidently say with the apostle, “for me to live is Christ.” Only when I’m tuned into God, can I ever really know who I am.