Posted by: Nathan M. | July 7, 2010

Highschool Dropouts

I am working at The Door this summer-it is a dropin centre in Fergus, run by the association Youth For Christ. As such, I am intermingling with a great deal of dropouts, druggies, and alcoholic teenagers, and I must say-it is a very strange experience. Generally we like to view such young people as having a bad upbringing, being rebelious, or somehow reacting against certain aspects of society. Now, I will not go so far as to say these things are factors, however I do believe that, at least in some cases, they are not nearly as severe in their consequences as usually expected.

Many of the young men and women that I spend time with at the Door are fairly well-adjusted individuals. They are intelligent, have a good handle on their attitudes and behaviour, and are fairly polite. However, they also spend a good deal of their time smoking and doing various drugs, as well as consuming a very high level of alcohol. Why is this? My answer would have been that they are trying to run away from something, or they are acting out for attention, or something of that nature. However, what I have come to discover is that this is not neccessarily the case for many of the young people that I have been spending time with. Some of them are doing these things only for the reason that they deem it to be fun. It is to them what jumping off of high cliffs into water, or walking over train bridges was to young people decades back-they do it because it is dangerous and somehow appealing. The difference is that the crazy stunts that kids used to do back in the day were dangerous, but were unlikely to have lasting consequences, so bravery was more obvious. We know that drugs have dire and lasting impacts on kids, the probem is that youth culture has selected, however arbitrarily, that drugs are the ‘crazy thing’ to do in this era-because after all, youth have always done crazy things, it is a part of being a youth.

What the implications of this are in Christian ministry to these kids is that we need to realize that they desperately need a purpose. Often, it is not as much a case of these kids wanting to be delivered-they need direction and purpose. They have nothing to live for, so they might as well throw themselves into youth culture and do the crazy things of the day. If they have a direction-something to live for, then they will be much more careful about how they live their lives. At this point, why shouldn’t they do drugs? They are not looking forwards to anything better than where they are now-adult life does not have any more appeal to them then youth, since they see their parents doing the same things that they are doing as youth, and they often see their parents struggling in dead-beat jobs.

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