november 15, 2013


“Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12

Media abounds with people criticizing and celebrating today’s young people. To be honest, there are more than enough examples to promote circulation of tabloids and sensational newscasts. Today’s young people face ever-changing challenges. The constant shift in technology and increase in information creates an uneasy foundation to establish one’s personal and relational spheres. Some researchers have observed a shift in the average movement from adolescence to adulthood away from the 18-22 age bracket of thirty years ago to the 25-30 age bracket today.

According to, the top 10 issues facing America’s young people as identified by researchers are:

  • 10. Single Parent Households (Today, 14 million single parents are responsible for 28 million children.)
  • Drug/Alcohol Abuse (21% of high school seniors say they get high and 41% of the same group report drinking alcohol.)
  • Growing up too Fast (The concept of childhood is literally being wiped out.)
  • Violence in Schools (In the last decade 284 kids were murdered due to school violence.)
  • Materialism (The average adult is $15,000 in debt at any given time.)
  • Obesity (20% of American children are obese.)
  • Education Disparity (Disparity in educational quality is delineated by race and financial status.)
  • Shifting Economy (Not only is America now having lower paying service jobs…but our economy is now a global economy.)
  • Poverty (The federal poverty level is $22,050 for a family of four. This equates to 21% of all children, 15 million).
  • Erosion of National Pride/Identity (There is very little sense of collective identity of people, as Americans.)

Yet, these troubles are not something unique to modern America.  Socrates saw the same issues related to the youth of his day stating, “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

Curmudgeons abound to scoff and complain regarding today’s youth. But even those who do good can be the subject of scorn. That foursome called “Mystery Inc,” continually heard “…if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!" even though they had solved the problem.

Yes, the challenges are great but they have been since Socrates’ time.
Yes, there are those who choose to do wrong and will be praised for living self-centered lives.
Yes, others will mock and criticize even when you choose to do right.
But, choose right – set the example in all you do so that others can follow, regardless your age.

“Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12

May Wayland be known for pioneering excellence in education and lighting the way for others to follow,

Micheal Summers
Director of Church Services / Assistant Professor of Religion / Assistant Director of Ministry Guidance