This week I had the chance to sit in on the ParentMinistry.Net webinar and listen to Mark Oestreicher process what is going on inside the brain of the teens we serve every week in our churches and communities. It was facinating stuff and such an encouragement for a leader who has been serving teens for over 16 years. I can’t even count how many times a week I ask my self what teens are thinking when I see some of the choices they make. New research out on the brain of a teenager reveals that in so many ways they are in process. Their brains are still developing as we are investing in them week to week.
This is great news for those of us who serve teens. First, they are still growing mentally! That means that we are helping guide that process as we invest in their lives. The second big reason to celebrate is that sometimes when they make poor choices it’s because they can’t put all the pieces together mentally and emotionally. This is just another reason to surround teens with radical grace and dedicated mentors to help them process life. These two ideas fuel me to want to invest more in teens. This generation is an unfinished painting and God is using us to help write their story. We get to be a part of that process.
Here are some of my favorite tweets from the #insideteenbrains hashtag yesterday! Maybe these will help you understand what teens are thinking!
@Uth_Min //During these CRUCIAL years, rather than telling youth teens WHAT to think, we should be helping them learn HOW to think.
@Uth_Min // Youth leaders. We are “tour guides” for our teenagers’ emotional experience of the world.
- kevin libick
@kevinlibick // The frontal lobes of teens are under developed. Here’s what it’s responsible for. #insideteenbrains pic.twitter.com/3wFX4O0GUq
@Uth_Min // Teens switch back & forth between concrete and abstract thinking. So we must constantly check for understanding.
- Elle Campbell
@ellllllllllle //During the CRUCIAL teen years, rather than telling students WHAT to think, we should be helping them learn HOW to think.
- Chad Watson
@WatsOnStuMin // “Doubt is essential to teenage faith development.”
@saltyouthpastor // We need to call our teens to responsibility, by giving them responsibilities.
@Uth_Min // During the young teen years, students’ brains will be HARD-WIRED for how it will function for the REST OF THEIR LIVES.
- Paul Martin
@PaulMartinYP // Youthworkers are emotional tour guides.
- Dave Rozman
@daverozman // Teen’s prefrontal cortex is not fully developed yet (Responsible for decision-making/wisdom/impulse control/empathy/focus)
@joeldaniel // Teen’s limited brain development leads to beautiful imaginations. Not only a weakness…also an opportunity
@Uth_Min // Maybe God DESIGNED this part of the teen brain to be underdeveloped so they will continue RISKING, TESTING, and LEARNING
@Uth_Min // Marko’s book recommendation for learning more about the teenage brain. http://www.amazon.com/Primal-Teen-Discoveries-about-Teenage/dp/0385721609 …