Before working with That teen in the mirror, our feature article in this issue, I hadn’t given much thought to what it’s like to be a teenager today.
It’s hard work, much harder than I can completely take in. Today’s teens have to deal with challenges that were never part of my own experience as a teenager; some of which I can only partly imagine. That’s particularly true when it comes to understanding what a teenage girl must deal with as she grows into a mature woman.
Our feature reminds us how much our teenagers need compassionate caring connections with their parents and other important people in their lives, including those of us who are part of their church family. Certainly the way each of us does that will vary but finding ways to connect and communicate with them is important.
Our feature primarily focuses on one of the harmful ways that some teens use to try to deal with issues of self-esteem and identity, a disordered relationship between food and eating. It helps readers to understand the complexity that is involved and to become aware of some of the resources that are available for these teens and those who care for them.
As important as such awareness is, it is also important that we don’t forget that most teens are sorting out self-esteem and identity in healthy ways.
Our church’s bishops were amazed by the wonderful teens they met at CLAY this summer. These were teens from our congregations. They have a lot to contribute, not only in the future, but also right now if we are willing to make that journey by connecting and communicating with them.
You can get some appreciation for what happened at CLAY 2018 by exploring the comments of several of our bishops in their columns in this issue.
I think you will be intrigued by Near death experiences (p. 9) and that it will generate a few conversations.
In many of our congregations, this is the time of year when members begin to reconsider their use of time, ability and resources. Called to give (p.15) helps us to think about how our giving grows our capacity to be generous.
The reader who likes to consider how biblical stories inform our own behaviour will find some useful observations and questions in Esau and Jacob: brothers and nations (p. 31).
Kenn Ward, Editor