When I started writing this story about the spirituality of teenagers, I wanted to see if kids today have experiences similar to mine. But the teens I talked to weren’t traveling alone with no one waiting for them at home. They weren’t necessarily troubled or “at risk.” However, like me, they expressed a need for a place to be apart from their lives: an oasis, a time to step outside of themselves, their problems, their schedules, and their responsibilities.Share
For many of these teenagers, time in church—especially time spent in adoration and silent prayer—was their chance to plug into another kind of experience altogether. Like me, they each responded positively to the opportunity to be quiet and alone with Jesus—together. In adoration, there is no pressure, no set prayer, no youth programs that pander to what they think young adults want. Just presence.
Columbia University professor and psychologist Lisa Miller, author of The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving (St. Martin’s Press), suggests that during the teen years, along with a surge in hormones, teens experience an increase in capacity and desire for connection with others and with God. Teens—far from being less interested in communication and relationship—are “propelled like clockwork into an accentuated hunger for transcendence, a search for ultimate meaning and purpose, and the desire for unitive connection.” (Read more.)