Have you noticed that you aren't the only one talking to your teen? I don't mean your teen's friends or teachers, as influential as those conversations are. No, I am talking about the people whose faces you will never see, the ones behind the thousands of advertising messages that bombard our young people every day.
I am thinking of the filmmakers, TV producers and thousands of special interest groups who know (sometimes better than Mom and Dad) that our teenagers are the future. They are working from this pragmatic belief: "Teach the teenagers how to think and you own the future."
Thankfully, many parents are wary about the messages their sons and daughters are getting, even while realizing it's virtually impossible to filter these messages from a teen's experience. However, that might not be all bad. If the sheer persistence of these messages forces us as parents to teach our teenagers how to think about life and learn to filter messages for themselves, then we have given our young people the ability to think critically. And, hopefully, our teens also will be trained to defend their faith in a world increasingly hostile to family values and Christian faith.
There are not two realities, but only one reality, and that is the reality of God, which has become manifest in Christ in the reality of the world. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Just five years ago we might not have been having a conversation about society's messages. Sure, we knew that the media influence wasn't necessarily good for our teens, but few of us knew just how bad it was for them. There is one term that helps us understand the profound impact today's culture has on our kids: worldview.
This term was popularized by The Barna Group's recent research, which shockingly reported that only 9 percent of born-again Christians have a biblical worldview.
There's a buzz around the term worldview. This is good news for parents because when we look at media issues (and the myriad of other issues facing our teens) from a worldview, we are addressing root causes of belief and behavior. Let's start by looking at some foundational definitions for worldview.