What is Teenage?
Although the term ‘teenage’ is based on those calendar years that are suffixed with teen, this period also roughly marks the intermediate stage of human life between childhood and adulthood. This is the period when a boy or a girl is usually in the biological state of adolescence, which starts from the time they enter puberty and continues until they reach adulthood. All through adolescence, they are not sufficiently mature physically, physiologically, emotionally and intellectually to enter into a mature marital relationship with the opposite sex and successfully raise a family. The period of adolescence often starts even before the beginning of teen years, in girls, and goes beyond teen years, in boys.
Those who are in the lower or upper borderline of adolescence carry most of the characteristics of the stage that is bordering it. In other words, the adolescents who have recently entered puberty are more child-like and those who have reached the upper end are more adult-like. All the same, they are all essentially children who have begun to experience something different from what they have been used to, all these years, and yet are not fully into it.
Adolescence is also the period in life when you start venturing into life beyond sex. You want to explore the world, learn about other cultures, make good friends, keep pets, think of purposeful life, nurture a cause that appeals to you, and be adventurous. Food and sex are two things that are essential for the human generation to continue on earth (Click here to see how). But we do not live for food or sex. Do we? Let us not undermine the value and purpose of human life by conforming to the freewheeling ways of life. God has a special plan for every individual.
Pressures & Problems
As you grow out of your junior childhood days you will notice that you are expected by the grownups, including your parents, to start sharing the workload of the family. You have to become a cog in the wheel of family and, as you grow further, the society you are part of. Life is not fun and frolic all the time. Teenage is the period you complete your basic education before going on for professional training as appropriate. This is the period when you learn inter personal relations more meaningfully. You may be exposed to hard physical and mental work and may be exposed to unexpected situations where you will be expected to respond in a mature manner.
This is the time when you can start to learn what is true love. This is the time you need to learn the correct definition of ethics, morals, intellectual honesty and integrity. This is the time you are vulnerable to be misled by substandard elders and substandard society, visuals, books and internet programmes. As you enter a new world thrown open by adolescence, and are bombarded with many colours of ‘love’, you can be easily misled to mistake the colours and suffer the consequences. What is red is often taught to you as green, and you may believe it innocently. What you learn to believe as love may in fact be what is not love at all (Click here to check it out).
There will be enormous pressures from your friends, parents, siblings, the schools and the society. Boys and girls go through many common and some entirely unusual pressures and problems. But these are part of life and are manageable. That is precisely why you should not get frustrated or lose hope; and rather thank God for making you what you are, a wonderful human being, growing and maturing; and that God has a great plan and purpose for your life on earth. Congratulations!
Dear Junior Teen, what shall we compare you with? You are essentially a kid snatched out of a tricycle and placed on a bicycle, with the promise of a motorbike and, later, a car!
The various growing stages of your life from the time you hit puberty, until you mature into a young adult, is compared here to the type of vehicle you are given to drive. The vehicle is your body. Just as you need progressive levels of mental and physical maturity to handle different types of vehicles, which come with progressive complications and benefits, you also need appropriate levels of mental and emotional maturity to handle the different physical and physiological stages that you will undergo in your body.
The bicycle age
When you have a bicycle in your hand, you do not ride it beyond its safe limits. If you do, it would harm the bicycle, you and others who may come on the way. It is the same with your young adolescent body and psyche, too. Do not tax your beautiful adolescence beyond its natural and healthy limits.
Ask your parents when you are in doubt. They are your best guides at this stage of your life. That is on the assumption that you have normal parents with stable and mature minds. Do not seek help from your friends; they too are in the same boat as you are, but may talk as if they know it all. Do not resort to the internet, either. It is a double-edged sword for teenagers.
The motorbike age
When you reach the motorbike stage, that is the senior adolescence, do not ride it recklessly. Incidentally, most actual motorbike tragedies, too, are caused by teenagers because most of them do know how to ride, but not with the maturity that must go with it. With your body, too, if you go beyond acceptable levels set by nature and moral parameters, you will seriously harm yourself and those who come in you way; and you will regret later. Instead of exploring sexual adventurism, read good books such as biographies of great people. Make healthy friends. Spend time with good and Godly friends. Have a healthy hobby such as collecting stamps or coins, keeping a natural aquarium or learning music or painting. You have plenty of mental energy and emotions welling up within you, which need to be channelled wisely.
The car age
Finally when you get into your car, that is when you are a young adult, you not only have to know and practice all the driving skills and rules of road traffic but also have to take additional responsibility for the comfort and safety of others who will be travelling with you. You cannot take liberties with your vehicle, be it a bicycle or a motorbike or a car, just because you own it. It is the same with your body. You are part of the society, and you have the responsibility to give your share for its wellbeing and happiness.
When it comes to wild animals, there are several natural checks and balances for them, and these animals are controlled biologically without the need for conscious intervention by the animal concerned. In humans, however, much of the checks and balances have to come from your mind through common sense, healthy traditions, sound advice and monitoring and correction by wise elders; and good influence from a healthy society.
The modern society
Unfortunately, the society is becoming more and more permissive and corrupt, in the modern times. The adolescents are often clueless, yet they think they are extremely smart in everything they do; but come to realise they are wrong only after suffering severe damages, often irrevocable, to their lives, and to the lives of those who are associated with them. There is no need to despair, though. Read on.
What is your role?
There is a great plan and purpose for your being born in this present turbulent generation. You can make a difference to your family, to the society and to the world by your attitude and actions, and by the way you handle your life. God will gradually unfold His unique plan for your ‘vehicle’, (that is your body and mind) when you present it clean and properly used. For this purpose you must wait upon God.
Check out the pages on Purpose of living on this website, if you are interested to read further on this topic.
If you are an adolescent boy, most of what has been discussed above under various subheads relate to you as well. So read those before reading further.
Other than what has been said above, this is to tell you that sexual development of your body, which is needed in order for the human generation to continue, is only a minor part of your grand self. If there was no pleasurable angle to sex nobody would be interested in it and the human generation would have been wiped out long ago. That is why God has given you a body and mind that are in the process of maturing to be adult-like in the near future.
Since you have to play your rightful role as a purposeful human being on earth, you should look at yourself as a responsible human being and not a simpleton. Also, this is the time you should start having a respectful relation with the girls whom you will come across. Consider them as your sisters. Avoid meeting them alone. Avoid getting into physical intimacy with them at any cost. If some of them are impatient, avoid them totally.
There are several Internet sites vying with each other to entice you to jump the gun, telling you that promiscuous behaviours are normal. Beware of them. As said earlier, read good books, have a healthy hobby, and keep good company. Spend time meditating upon the word of God.
Girls, you did not expect that your life would change so fast! You are not a little child anymore. Not an adult, either. You sure are intrigued by the physical changes taking place over you. You sense a mixture of fear and excitement. Soon you will notice that boys, especially those who are older than you, start taking interest in you. And you too will start taking interest in them. However, what you see and feel are just the beginning of a long life’s journey, which comes with several pitfalls; and girls, you will more often be the sad losers if you are in a hurry. Not that the boys are immune. The fact is that often they may be able to get away, but it will be real hard on you when it happens.
As it was pointed out earlier, there are several natural checks and balances in animals, without the need for conscious intervention by the animals concerned. But in your case, dear girls, you cannot afford to let yourself drift with nature; you must use every bit of common sense that you have and draw upon healthy traditions, sound advice, monitoring and correction by wise elders, and good influence from a healthy society.
Many Internet sites and even social groups and institutions will never tell you that certain actions are wrong and that you should not give in. Instead you will be enticed to go ahead ‘without getting hurt’. Mind you, even when you may escape a physical consequence some time, your psyche will be badly affected. You would find yourself alienated from God and Godly innocence. You need a healthy mind along with a healthy body to fulfill your role as a successful human being on earth.
I hope you have already read the earlier portions of this chapter (see above) on What is teenage, Pressures and Your vehicle, which relate to you as well.
You will find adolescence a great deal of fun and excitement. However, this is the time in your life you must be extremely cautious and hold on to Godly wisdom to handle your life. I wish you the best in life. God bless you.
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