I grew up too fast. I was impatient to be an adult. Ever since I was little I used to daydream about being an adult and living an adult life. I invented in my imagination a little city of mini-houses where my friends and I all lived like little families and pretended we were grown ups. I had a a mini plastic ironing board when I was young, and then migrated to the real iron to press hankercheifs and tea-towels. I longed for it more than just a child playing house for fun. I was keen to be my own independent person as soon as possible.
Moving out of home at 17 showed me that being an adult wasn't everything I had imagined it to be.
Young people often have a warped sense of what being an adult is all about. They imagine it to be exactly the same as being a child or teenager except without anyone to tell them what to do.
My heart breaks, now, when I see young people beginning to drink alcohol, have exclusive and physical relationships and rebel against the constraints of childhood long before they are ready.
Idependence and adulthood comes at a price - and it is a very costly one when it happens before a person has learned the responsibility and maturity that should come with it.
This is not every young person. I know many extremely mature young people, and many extremely immature old people.
But all around me I see young people wishing for things they don't understand. They have their whole lives to be adults, and only a limited time to be a child and yet they are dying to get out of it as soon as possible.
And I fear they may be literally dying. The image of adulthood to too many lost young people is emptiness disguised as fun. Loneliness disguised as belonging. Stupidity and immaturity disguised as independence and freedom.
I didn't think it was such a new revelation, but a news story the other night revealed that friends aren't necessarily the main influencers on whether young people drink alcohol or not, but instead their parents are. I thought that would have been obvious - where do young people get any of their opinions and values? Of course friends influence friends, but first those values come from the parents and families. We blame friends, we blame society, but who makes up society?
After a car accident in my little community, four boys discovered the reality of the 'freedom' they thought they had to do what they liked without boundaries with violent consequences. Just minutes before the accident one of the boys posted a facebook status about being so drunk he was about to pass out. My heart breaks for them, and I pray God reaches their hearts in the middle of the turmoil. They are thankfully all alive to learn, if they accept the lesson.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Don't be afraid of giving children boundaries. Don't be afraid of showing them the right way. Don't be so desperate to be their friend that you miss out on the chance to be the role model they need. I may have lost my way a little in the middle, but I thank God for a mother who wasn't afraid to bring me up in His teachings - I never forgot that.
I'm not condeming young people. I've been there. I made the mistakes that I wish no-one else would. I hope God uses me to make sure my past is not their future.
Ok, that was a bit heavy.
Lighten up with this video: