Teenagers Are Awesome

I stayed up late last night for a midweek party at our house. It has become a tradition in our home among the teenagers to throw a dance party on October 31, and last night about 30 teenagers were dancing the night away in our living room. The “Jeub Pumpkin Dance” included:

  • Music and dancing
  • Pies, caramel popcorn
  • Candy exchange
  • Trick-or-treating in the house (I’ll explain that below)
  • Pumpkin carving contest

Many of the teenagers were students of the speech and debate organization I run (Training Minds). They have such energy and excitement for life, I often wonder why teenagers have an awkward reputation among adults. You know this is true: how often do you hear adults sigh about their teenagers? Or older parents warn younger parents, “Oh boy, just wait till they’re teenagers,” and they roll their eyes. The impression is that adolescents are not good people.

Hogwash. Teenagers are awesome. They’re our future, and I’m confident that the future will be bright. I work with youth in my profession, and I’ve come up with this hypothesis:

Grumpy grownups have stereotyped teenagers, but teens are really full of ingenuity, joy and life.

Even those in the business of teens have contributed to the stereotype. I remember a youth pastor several years ago who regularly complained about the “foolishness” of the youth. He’d refer to a few Bible stories to prove a point: young people should just settle down. It was his subtle attempt to correct young people, demeaning their energy as something bad or sinful.

Yeesh, what a pathetic view of young people. This pastor ran a youth camp, for crying out loud, and eventually burned out and quit. He continued on with his stereotype, becoming hypercritical of the “youth group movement,” generalizing entire teen ministries as encouraging the sinfulness of youth.

You can guess that we didn’t get along very well. I love the energy of the young, and I encourage it. You have to understand, too, that I have a houseful of children – five teenagers plus a 20 year old. Life is abundant in the Jeub home.

Like last night. My wife and I didn’t run the party; we had little to do with it. The kids planned the entire thing – sent invitations, managed RSVPs, cleaned the house, cleared the living room, made the pies, decorated, etc.

They did things spontaneously, too. Early in the party several younger siblings – some dressed up for Halloween – were bundles of excitement. The teens came up with an idea: let them go trick-or-treating throughout the house! Teenagers each took a bowl of candy and stood behind every closed door in the house (bedrooms, closets, etc.). The little kids would knock, the teens would throw open the door, and fill up the bags for the kids. What fun!

Creativity. Life. Adaptability. Fun. Today’s young people – at least the ones who came to the Jeub Pumpkin Dance last night – are full of life and joy. They are awesome.

Question: Do you see the same negative view of teens in the world? What do you think about it?

Are you a debater? Join me in Colorado in July for the Training Minds Camp!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I haven’t really decided on teens. At times they drive me crazy, but nite because of the energy, but rather what they choose to focus their energy on. I remember my teenage years well. I got in my share of trouble and i learned a lot. I wouldn’t change much about those years. At the end of the day, i think that if you can point all that energy in the right direction, they can accomplish amazing things. Nothing wrong with some innocent fun either.

    All that being said, my oldest is only ten. Lol.

    ~Timm

    • Very good comment. I must admit that the teenagers at the party last night were all academically focused teens, spiritually mature, relationally connected with their families, etc.

  • Sounds like awesome fun! We do a similar “trick or treat in our house. My kids create their costumes (no ghoulish stuff either) and my husband plays hide and seek. When the kids find him they get a treat. He does 4-5 hides, I make crockpot caramel apple cider and we just have fun as a family. Even my teens look forward to this and spent the last month going through their clothes and things to create costumes. I love their creativity! My teens are definitely a different sort of challenge then my littles, but we have a close bond that I cherish. I guess it is all in how you choose to see it.

    • Exactly, Andrea! Your family sounds like a lot of fun.

  • JDK

    Great post, but I do wonder how Alissa and Alicia felt when they read it. They were once teens in your house, too.

  • Cera Lamken

    I can’t agree with you more! Tuesday was my son’s 15th Birthday, so last night my son and about 23 of his friends (13 to 20) gathered for a birthday get together. Jacob and I had spend the day making a GIANT batch of baked potato soup and caramel corn. The teens laughed, ate, sang goofy show tunes and danced the evening away doing super fun dances like the Virginia Reel, the Post Jig and an assortment of other Civil War era dances. (their FAVORITE thing to do!) I was so blessed to watch the interactions between them all. I love they way they communicate with each other…one minute goofy and teasing while the next showing concern for one of the girls who got spun a bit too vigorously during the last dance and all the while making sure everyone was being asked to dance, and not left out.

    Toward the end of the evening a few younger siblings showed up and had NO qualms joining the dance. The awesome things was that the teens encouraged it! I laughed so hard when one of the teen boys ended up without a dance partner because he got aced out by the 7 year old! All the other guys told him that’s what he got for waiting till the last minutes. It was priceless.

    Thanks for being a teen advocate! I think we need to hear more about the good things our teens are engaged in.

    Blessings,
    Cera

    • A “teen advocate” — heh, I like that!