Tuesday, 17. December 2013 by Renee Ellison
It is appalling that a recent national survey of over 3,000 adolescents (from all walks of life) revealed that their most prized possession is their freedoms. “Don’t take away my cell phone or my car. I’ll hyperventilate if you do; I’ll go ballistic.” The survey shared anecdotally about an undergraduate high school class being released on the last day of school (for just that year) where the students ran from the building shouting like a bunch of warriors, or a scene from Braveheart...FREEEEDDDDDOOOOOOOMMMMMM. But what is more to the point is that similar scenes take place everyday in the homes of teens, demanding to escape from their parents, and the house itself. This is routine. The struggle to “get free” is growing in intensity.
In light of this statistically-verified psychological state of teens, i.e. it is what really lives in their heads these days, parents were encouraged, as a result of the survey, to walk delicately and not to step on this fragile dynamic. Restrain your adolescent if he gravitates toward evil, but not by taking away his cell phone or his Internet connection, nor by clogging up his social pipeline. Huh?
Upon some reflection, one might ask, what is it that these articulate and desperate teens really want? “Freedom FROM what, and freedom TO DO what?” Historically, people have shouted (or rather meekly, exhaustedly, unbelievably, whispered) “freedom? at last?” if they have just emerged from a Siberian work camp, or a German concentration camp. But we have none of that here. Freedom has not been a pressing urgent word in American for over 200 years. But now it emerges as an insistence, a veritable air-hose for the adolescent. In America?
So what is really going on here? Teens want to escape their homes and their educational institutions, desperate to do what? To smoke weed and cut themselves with peers…asserting, with a hamburger in their hand, “aahhh, freedom.” But what they really mean by the word “freedom” is lasciviousness. They want unbridled lasciviousness. They want no responsibility, no work, no personal production quotients, no input from people who have lived life several decades ahead of them, no have to’s, no context at all that they don’t generate themselves, sometime in the middle of the night, in a dark alley.
The majority of teens desperately want to escape to an unbridled world of their peers. Peers these days are increasingly sought-after to replace the home, the parents, in an absolute sense. But let’s get some clarity here. Peers do not have enough of an experience base to mentor other peers. It ain’t gonna happen. What happens is that adolescent peers, left alone, descend into a pool of iniquity together. And peer pressure becomes a demon in their life they hadn’t counted on.
All of this is a non-issue if one carefully, diligently, lovingly homeschools. A child never runs from a homeschooled high school “class” wanting to get away from learning, because long ago they realized that there never is a last day, that real learning goes on forever, and that to be involved in it is the human’s happiest state. For by it the child finds himself actualized, invigorated and thrilled to be alive. He has no struggle with a deep search for identity, because his unique identity has been under close surveillance and pumped up from the time he was born. His parents have meticulously groomed his academic prowess, skills and talents from the get-go. Homeschooling parents are daily launching their child into what God made of him, and that feels good to the child. It is exhilarating for any human being to be made more ME, and to find God’s calling for ME. A parent realizes early on that his child cannot run in all directions and get anywhere. Thus, restraint and discipline become the loving “hands” used to make over the child. As a result, a maturing discipline becomes the child’s settled expectation and ever-growing satisfaction.
So what is the problem with secular teens, not so trained? Why do they want to escape? What are they running from? They are running from parents who are constantly preoccupied with something other than their own child—be it work, their own social life, their own hobbies and projects, their own baseball games, and their own emotional traumas. So the child wants to escape being ignored. The child wants to escape educational institutions because they taught him the what of life but never mentioned the why. It was 12 plus years of a mental life that ignored God at best, and grew increasingly irritated with Him at worst. So the school strutted forth to became a surrogate God from which the child now looooooooooooongs to escape. Secular education is not God’s equal. It is not even close. The secular teens are right after all, but deluded. They are running not toward freedoms but from meaninglessness—and now are searching in the wrong places. Only you, as a parent, can reverse this.