In today's society student only get an average of 5-6 hours a night. Who can blame them, between school, sports, band, musicals, homework, church, extra curricular activities, work, spending a little bit of social time, and of course eating, it is amazing that they are even getting that much.
As I talk with teens in the youth ministry here at New Life EFC I can see the stress filled bags under their eyes. They are being pushed by parents to succeed so they can get scholarships, they are being pushed by teachers so they can get raises, they are being pushed by peers to avoid embarassment when the class ranks come out, they are being pushed by coaches who think that winning is everything (it's high school coach...not the NFL...so shut up), they are being pushed by their jobs to work more hours, they are being pushed by choir directors to practice three hours a night when they are done doing the other 4 hours of homework that is given each day, and of course they are being pushed by themselves, to meet these ungodly expectations that are places on them with no room for failure.
I am fully convinced that the life of a high school student to so incredibly different than when I graduated just 9 years ago.
It is not surprise to me that teen alchohol and druge use has skyrocketed as fast as their schedule fills up. I wonder how to create and environment that is free from expecetation to succeed and filled with expectation to just simply be.
We as a culture are stressing out teenagers for the sake of "a better tomorrow". I am not sure how this mentatilty will flesh out in the future but I would put big money on the fact that it won't be good.
So if you work with students in any capactiy make sure you are teaching them that they can say "no" to extra activities. We have been teaching them that "no" is only a good response when someone offers them drugs or sex, however I think the stress levels that teens face today are almost as dangerous as drugs and sex.
Sorry about the rant, but it just feels so good.