HTH: The Deeper Roots of Youth Anxiety
Check out this fascinating article from the Institute for Family Studies, written by Joseph E. Davis, on the deeper roots of youth anxiety. Davis’ overall diagnosis seems to be that teenagers today are anxious because, with no guidance or limitations whatsoever, they are expected to autonomously write their own stories – and those stories better be exceptional. In the language of Christianity, teenagers today are expected to be the source of their own salvation.
Here’s how Davis describes what’s going on:
“Now, youth like Megan must define themselves and the shape of their lives—who they want to be and become—by primarily referencing their own preferences, desires, and choices. They are urged to project a future and treat themselves and the social world as though every constraint and limitation is essentially malleable. Obstacles are ‘variables’ that can be moderated or eliminated by their hard work and creative efforts. And they are virtually compelled to represent this biographical project, this ‘story you choose to live in,’ as one young man put it, to others—from peers to college admissions officers—in a way that demonstrates and confirms its upward progress and realization.”
The gospel gives our young people a better narrative: they are invited into God’s story. In his story, they are the created instead of the Creator; they are the rescued instead of the Rescuer.