Hurt: Three Reasons This Is Important

This post is part of a series I’m writing as I read the book, Hurt: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers by Chap Clark. You can view the entire series here.

youth ministry resources students' connecting biblical principlesYesterday, I posted a lot of questions about the impact of lengthening adolescence. Here are the reasons Chap gives for why this is important for us to understand.

  1. The freedoms designed for late adolescence now occur during midadolescence. The best example is driving. Originally, this freedom was purposefully given to lateadolescents, those who were almost adults and therefore had a higher level of maturity and responsibility. 

    Now our young drivers are still midadolescents, and, as Chap says, they “retain the residue of self-centered childhood and may not have the developmental acumen to make the kind of choices that make driving, to use this one example, safe” (p. 36). What about the drinking age? Oh my…

  2. Because high school students are only midadolescents (as opposed the lateadolescents as they used to be), it’s harder for them to see college and career as a secure and fulfilling future. They’re more concerned about what’s in it for them than making a difference in the world, and appeals to the future from adults are often dismissed.
  3. Midadolescents are able to engage in abstract thought. However, this level of thinking is limited to the immediate context. There are “pillars” of deep thought and life context but they do not connect and principles from one do not transfer to others.

    The example Chap gives is a student who will go into great detail describing the love they have for their parents, and the next minute plan to do something which he or she knows will hurt his or her parents deeply.

That third point is huge!

It means that, as it stands today, the majority of your students probably lack the skills of (or they’re just in the habit of not) connecting the biblical principles we teach them to real life.

And the real-life examples we give them probably don’t transfer in their minds to other life circumstances.


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