Our grandson is a game junkie. That’s not a judgement- it’s a fact. I have heard many a complaint from parents for they too have a teen that seems to spend more time online, or on phone with social media, or gaming, or u-tubing. It might be all bad from our perspective. What is our perspective?
It all depends on what generation you are a part of. Today’s teens and tweens are by default born in Generation Z. This guarded lonely culture, consists of kids born 1999 to the present. Shockingly to many of us that have not put much question as to why our kids behave the way they do, the definition to what Generation Z is can be summed up pretty much as the generation that doesn’t know what it is like to live without fear. To live in a threat-free society is absent from their lives; past or present. They desire to find ‘safe-spaces’ where they are included but not judged. They are a coddled group mostly because their parents rightfully are fearful for their children in today’s world. They don’t know what it is like to go outside to play without supervision. They are not “allowed” to walk where their hearts take them for their parents fear of what the media warns us; kidnapping. Polls say they don’t want to learn to drive for fear of death.
What happened in 2000 and up to this very day – the years in which these non-risk-taking kids were born? All we have to do is re-play one catastrophe after another to know the answer. School shootings, bombs, terrorism of all forms, wars that do not stop, 911, TV news reporting 24/7 fearful and anxiety breeding news. You could have a host more and it all is summed up as UNCERTAINTY 24/7. Now ask yourself again…. why does my kid sit on social media? Could it be they feel safer inside that ‘world’ where threats seem easier to experience? A world they can pretty much create? Or so they think. Actually, predators like cyber-bullying are just within a click away. While seeking relief, they fall further into what they fear- unsafe places.
What can we do? What can we say? Again, that answer depends on where we ourselves find safety and assurance in spite of the fears that hound us. My faith is where I draw my solid assurance – what would Jesus do, I ask myself. He responded to all who called on him in a radical manner way back 2,000 years ago and still does today. No matter the horror and agony that the people he encountered were experiencing, He made them feel safe first and then went about transforming the ways they saw themselves, their fears and anxieties. When He showed himself to those everyday people like ourselves, in the gospels, they found freedom from fear through the peace He gave them and compassion they were looking for- in fact so much that they wanted others to know Him as well.
We moms, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles have super opportunities every time we relate with our Gen Z kids. How? By pulling alongside them just like Jesus does with us and allow them safe space to air their hearts, share their hurts, frustrations, and fears of all sorts. Just to listen as Christ did. Let us pray to the Lord Jesus, who is God with us, – asking for hearts and ears to listen when our tweens and teens come to us. Jesus knows each of our hearts and our thoughts even before we think them.
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