These are the teenage boys that Matt and I are attempting to raise. And we are trying, everyday, to teach them that their choices matter. What they put into their bodies matters. What they post online matters. How they decide to spend their time and how they treat other people matters.
As I wrestled with the content of the Kavenah hearings I found myself thinking that as a culture we don’t want teenage actions and choices to count. We want to give teenagers a free pass.
“You know how kids are.”
“This is what they do.”
“We did it and we’re fine.”
“Boys will be boys.”
On some deep level our culture believes that normal teenage behavior involves drinking too much and having reckless sex. We believe this so strongly that we are actually suspect of kids who don’t do these things. And we certainly don’t want adults to have to pay for stupid decisions they made as teens.
We deeply resist the idea that choices made as teenagers — especially in the context of a wild party — could have true and lasting consequences.
But we’re wrong. Actions have consequences. The actions of teens do matter. People do remember what happens and lives are changed and people are injured in ways that impact them for the rest of their lives. Even if you were too drunk to remember the next morning, someone else wasn’t and that person just may remember everything.
We have a cultural problem. We need to do better. We need to challenge our kids to do better. They are capable. They can control their actions. They can make good choices. They can harness their drives and channel their desires. They can respect their own bodies and the bodies around them. Even with raging hormones, they can treat others with respect.
Because they are not simply teenagers. They are human beings. And they matter.
May God give us the strength and wisdom and courage to change. May we respect them, and ourselves, enough to do better.
(originally posted on Instagram 10/1/18 @amybosthenegar)