Jean Valjean, in Les Misérables, (set in the 1830’s) asks the question, “Who am I?” He is struggling to establish his identity as a man and not just as a prisoner numbered 24601. But when modern teens are asked “Who are you?”, they answer, “Anyone I want to be!” Unlike the character Jean Valjean, who is trying to assert a single consistent identity, the modern teen juggles multiple identities with no felt need to combine them. This reinforces a teen’s instability in faith, morals, emotions, intellect and relationships. And the result is long-term confusion (often unrecognized by them) causing an inability to make commitments–which offers one of the best ways to overcome their instability.
More than ever, youth need to be given a vision of who they can be and encouraged to become that person by those who love them. The bible says in Psalm 139:14 ESV “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” These are the words that they must hear to remind them that their heavenly father created them for a purpose and has a plan for their lives.
How can you help build your grandchild’s identity? It may be by reading scriptures to them or encouraging them to memorize a specific passage. You can have an influence on them by telling them about the lives of early Christian Saints or inspirational Christians of today who are positive role models. Perhaps you could share some of your current or past family members’ faith journeys to help them feel more grounded and a part of the family.
Whatever methods you choose to help encourage your grandchild’s identity, know that the world is sending them confusing messages. By your words and actions, you can give them greater clarity in forming a strong identity during a confusing time in their life. Psalm 78:4 ESV “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.”
(Information taken from the Youth Culture Newsletter July 2018 written by Michael Shaughnessy)
Article edited by Bryan Adamovicz
Copyright © 2021 Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club.