When people think of young people or teenagers, they typically revert to the common label depicting us as a bunch of kids up to no good. We have long been known as the “trouble makers”. But the world is changing. WE are changing. And if people haven’t noticed yet, then it’s time to change that. We have the potential to be WORLD SHAKERS. See, young people are special. Have you ever thought about how much impact we have being the ages that we are? We are not children anymore, yet we still have their spirit. We are not quite adults, but we know enough about the world to drive a change in it and gain respect. We have access to BOTH ends of the spectrum! There are two roles that can be assumed: the elder to the children and the young person to the elder.
I came to this epiphany reading through this passage in the Bible:
“Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:2-7
Shepherd the flock. We are not children, but close enough that we can still remember and relate to them. We are looked up to and seen as role models and “cool”. Our actions and words are taken seriously because we haven’t gotten old enough to be seen as a “big and scary adult” that just tells them what to do. Our encouragement is so powerful. I can tell you from experience that as a child, receiving a compliment or being liked by a “big kid” was more satisfying than one from an adult. “Big kids” know what’s up. As a result, children tend to respect teenagers out of admiration. However, with power comes responsibility. When they see us, they tend to follow what we do. They want to be just like us. This is a great opportunity for us to inspire a new generation of world shakers! Volunteer as an example of good works, keep your conversations pure, don’t gossip around them, and be positive; all in hopes of have them see and emulate these actions. We tend to act as shepherds to this fledgeling group of sheep, whether we realize it or not.
Be humble and give them hope for future generations. We may not be adults, but that does not mean we can’t relate to them. As we thrive on the brink of adulthood, we have the ability to sustain intelligent conversations with them. We can show them that this generation has a different side- that we believe in using ourselves for a purpose greater than ourselves. Through service, love to all family members (young and old), maturity, and positivity in the face of adversity, we have the power to change our image and break the stereotypic mask of incompetence and irrelevance thrust upon us by society. Society portrays teens as partiers and crazy. Granted, there is a sector of us that most certainly is but that is inevitable- especially with today’s pressures of conformity and social standards. However, a goal of mine is for adults to see us for this double impact I speak of- like a ripple effect in the community. We can be rebellious of our perceived shell and break the mold. Our drive and motivation, if initiated, is unstoppable! We can showcase this to the world. There is a certain hunger in young people to be a part of something. If revived for the right causes, we can change the the world for the better all together as one unswerving force. And of course, with The Holy Spirit blazing in our hearts, there is NOTHING we can’t do. Adults will listen to our voices when they see that we are not working for our own good- but for the good of the world. It instills within them a sense of hope. This is something that we, as young people in the middle of life, can do. We can be seen not as trouble makers by adults, but as world shakers!
With access to both extremes in age, we are a pretty big deal. Yet…many teens forget this or simply don’t realize it. Why is this?
This double impact is why our image is so stereotyped. Many abuse this power. Instead of using this doubling of connection and reach to inspire good values, deeds, and change, many use it to be selfish or inappropriate. This is because a lot of teenagers make a detrimental mistake in these pivotal years of their life that gives me the chills: they think as an individual they don’t matter….that their life is insignificant. If you are feeling this way, then I want to tell you that this is NOT the case! You inspire the young and the old through everything you do. YOU have a PURPOSE- a GOD GIVEN purpose in this world! And you can live it out RIGHT NOW! Not when you are older and “wiser” (age is but a number), but right now. Why? Because God made you for a purpose…for your whole life…every minute of it matters. He has fabricated your life to be a fine tapestry of beautiful breaths and life changing moments stitched together with relationships, trials, triumphs, and visions of awe-inspiring views. So why just fall into the stereotype? You were made for so much more than “fitting in”. If you fit into the stereotypes your whole life, then what legacy do you leave behind? What impact? God never made us to be silent. All you have to do is let go of the things that hold us back from breaking free of these shackles of status quos that society tries to hold us to. When you do that, everything becomes simplified. Life is truly lived to the fullest when one recognizes the impact God has given them. So go out there and move mountains- it’s not just the kids you are changing. It’s not just the adults watching either. It’s BOTH. So embrace your youth. Cherish it. Live the life God leads you to live. With Him at your side, there is no limit to the things you will see, the things you will do, or the difference you can make.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. -1 Timothy 4:12