It seems to me that teens in trouble are in the news a lot. Which might lead one to believe that teens are nothing but trouble.
I just heard on the radio that 1 in 3 teens has snuck out at night – usually to smoke and/or drink. Teen thieves. Teens beating up people. Speeding, And I confess, when I am waking or biking down the street and I see a group of teens, I go on a bit of an alert. Is there danger here? I also have been subjected to my share of rude teen heckling. There are indeed many troubled and troubling teens. Too many. One would be too many. They are precious children of God who do not know who they are and whose behavior makes it easy for us to forget as well.
But let me tell you about the teens I know. These teens spend their Saturday morning helping people they may not even know. Helping people move. Helping with yard work. And these kids don’t just do service because their church leaders ask them to. The youth leaders go to the adults and say, “We want to do service.” I have heard them say it. Often the youth find the service to do and let the adults come along. Kids who sneak out, well they don’t sneak, their folks know where they are going, they sneak over. Sneak over to someone’s house to leave a plate of cookies and maybe “heart attack” their yard – leave lots of paper hearts, some of them with loving messages stuck on plastic forks in the ground. Someone they admire. Someone they know has been having a hard time. I know teens who babysit for free so the parents can go to the temple or attend an church activity. Or just to give a harassed mom a bit of a break. Teens that automatically help carry things, open doors for people, give up their seats, help clean up before they leave any activity. I know teens who smile and greet people of all ages, even have pleasant conversations devoid of any foul language. I see teenagers reaching out to the lonely. Teenagers standing for truth and righteousness in their daily lives.
Teenagers can be wonderful people.