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Our teen-agers' true Parent

DO the teen-agers you know seem more jaded than joyful, more listless than energetic, more antagonistic than loving? Are they subject to peer pressure, and/or media pressure, that has coaxed them into experimenting with sex, alcohol, or drugs? Whether or not we actually know teen-agers who are subject to these influences, we have probably read the statistics of teen-age suicides and pregnancies, drug and alcohol abuse. Tragic stories abound, and so do so-called ``explanations,'' which expound on the presumed causes of the problems facing youth today. These causes could indeed be seen as valid and far-reaching if it were not for one basic, all-important fact: God, infinite good, is the only real cause, the only creator of all that genuinely exists. An understanding of this truth can nullify any and all effects appearing to spring from another cause. We are told that divorce leaves deep scars of insecurity in a child. We hear that children in single-parent homes are more likely to turn to drugs or crime. We read that instances of child abuse often occur because the abuser was himself mistreated or neglected as a child. Yet no divine law supports such results, and we're not being realistic, in the truest sense of that term, if we give credence to this sad, self-perpetuating cycle of material cause and effect. It would seem sometimes that the very fabric of a stable society--the family--is becoming unraveled, and that torn, fragmented, troubled lives are the result. But this is not the reality established by God, and we can, indeed we must, take action to prove it! No one, in his true self hood, is the offspring of fallible mortals. Each one is in fact a spiritual being, the beloved child of our perfect Father-Mother, God. As the Bible tells us: ``All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.'' 1 If ``all things were made by him,'' all things must spring from an infinitely loving, pure, and wholesome source. No aspect of anyone's life can in reality be the effect of any other cause, or bear any characteristics but those that are lovely, strong, joyful, and satisfied. Christ Jesus acknowledged God as the only true Parent of all. Persistently acknowledging this frees us from fastening negative traits on ourselves and others. And clinging to a love for and trust in our perfect creator will bring His perfect qualities into focus right where we may have seen the very opposite. When we are confronted with the aggressive, manifestly ``real'' picture of a troubled, difficult teen-ager and are tempted to pin the origin of the trouble on the parents, or on society in general, we can take affirmative mental action that will bless the young person concerned. We can refuse to react with distaste, impatience, or despair, and obey instead the injunction found in Isaiah: ``Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it . . . . I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways.'' 2 Affirming, and deeply realizing, each one's inviolate relationship to God help bring to light the truth of man. We see that there's no room for the negative effects of any lesser parenthood. And what of the influence of the media, which would wield so much power over teen-agers today? Are we helpless to counteract the influence of movies that equate drug abuse with harmless fun, or of rock music that hammers home a message of violence and nihilism? No, we are never helpless, not if we remember that God, good, is actually the only power, and that in their true, purely innocent nature there is nothing in teen-agers that can respond to a harmful or negative lure. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes this supremely comforting and practical statement, which we can apply when tempted to believe that anyone is subject to a negative influence: ``The eternal Truth destroys what mortals seem to have learned from error, and man's real existence as a child of God comes to light.'' 3 When the world would show us a troubled teen-ager, let's make sure we are seeing the child of God instead. Far from escapism or mere positive thinking, this true, spiritual view of man heals. 1 John 1:3, 4. 2 Isaiah 45:11-13. 3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 288-289.

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