KEYWORDS: teens, way, something, things, kids, problems

Jewels about Teens

Karen Zerby

1992—By MariaMaria #196 DO 2864

Worldliness in Our Teens' Dress & Appearance!

1. WORLDLINESS, OR COOLNESS, is much more in the attitude of the heart than in the outward appearance. Or, to put it another way, you can't necessarily judge how spiritual a person is or how worldly that person is by what he or she wears. What's in your heart matters much more than the kind of clothes on your body.

2. When we talk about someone who has a problem with trying to be "cool," we usually mean that they tend to behave in a worldly way, as we pretty much define coolness & worldliness as the same thing. But when it comes to clothing, what a teen wears is not nearly as important as the attitude of his or her heart. You can't judge a teen's attitude of heart by what he wears. The Bible instructs us to "judge not according to outward appearance, but judge righteous judgement."—Jn.7:24. And while the outward appearance does sometimes reflect a less than healthy attitude of heart‚ often it doesn't. Of course whatever you wear, if you really get into it & place too much emphasis on it or become too proud of it, it can have a pull on you & can affect you in the spirit‚ a little like a frown makes you feel unhappy, or if you put a smile on your face, you soon feel happier. It's your attitude or outlook that counts the most.

3. I certainly don't think that our kids wearing the same style of clothes or the same fashion as most System kids is, in itself, going to hurt them at all. Even if upon occasion someone decides to try out something really "far out‚" we shouldn't automatically conclude that there's something wrong with them. Perhaps their choice of clothes or fashion is not wise or expedient, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they're rebellious or backslidden in heart. It may just mean that they want to be different from their Family peers‚ or assert their independence or individuality.—Or perhaps they want more attention.—Or maybe they want to see how wisely you will handle a situation that is not routine, & there's not an answer already spelled out for it & "on the books."

4. Just because the System uses something or wears it doesn't mean it's necessarily "worldly." Some things are‚ of course, but we can't automatically call everything the System wears "worldly styles." When we wear something that the System wears, or watch a movie that the System watches, or eat food that the System eats, we don't label all these things as "worldly." Our definition of worldly should be something that is not Godly, that doesn't conform to His Word & Scriptural principles. But obviously, there are many things from the System we can use in a Godly way.

5. It is our attitude about them & the way in which we use them that can make them Godly or ungodly. If we use them for the Lord's glory & to further His Work in some way, either by helping us to be healthy, happy, well-groomed, knowledgeable, etc., then these things are not worldly. If they bear good fruit in our lives & have a good effect on us, they are not worldly just because the System uses them. The question for us should be, "Can we use what the System uses in an edifying, fruitful, Godly way?" If so, there's no reason why we shouldn't. God has made those things available for us, just as much as for the System‚ & even more so‚ if we can use them for His glory.

6. So the main question for you teens when it comes to matters of dress & clothing should be: Does it glorify the Lord? Does it make you a good testimony, or help you feel more confident because you fit in better & are able to "become one" with those you witness to? Maybe that's putting the doorknob a little too high, to expect you to always judge what you wear by the standard of whether it glorifies the Lord or not. This is the ideal & what would be the most pleasing to the Lord, & we hope you will try to judge everything you do & wear by this standard. However, being the weak human beings that we are, we all know that none of us ever always live up to the standard. And maybe in your case, when it comes to what you wear, you sometimes don't have such lofty motivations. Maybe you just like to be different from your Family peers in order to assert yourself as an individual. Maybe you are just trying to be a bit independent—which is normal for teens. I don't think there's any harm in your dressing differently sometimes. I don't see any reason for everyone looking exactly the same‚ or for that matter, doing things exactly the same way.

7. There are many different ways to look attractive & well-groomed, just as there are many different ways to do things to reach the same goal. The Lord doesn't demand that we be exactly the same in outward appearance or in personality or in thought or in ways of doing things. He does, however, expect that we all manifest the same Spirit—His Spirit of Love, happiness, wisdom & righteousness. That's why, no matter what we wear or how different we look on the outside, people can readily identify us as all being His children.

8. In a recent report, one of the Shepherds in the U.S. mentioned that some of the girls had gotten into wanting to pierce their ears twice. One question to consider is, what is your motivation for wanting to do that? Another question to consider is, what results will your actions have? If you want to pierce your ears twice, is it just because you think it's pretty?—Or just because you want to be different from your Family peers?—Or is it because you want to look the same as all the System girls who may be doing it? Is it harmless for you?—Or is it somehow going to bear bad fruit in your life? The main thing that counts is the motivation of the heart.

9. However, even if your motives are good, to "become one" with those you're trying to witness to, you have to be on guard, because it can still affect you in a negative way if you start placing too much emphasis on trying to be like the World. You can innocently get too into that sort of thing, & then it's almost like the spirit of it is able to get ahold of you & influence you. The Bible says‚ "Be not conformed to this World, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."—Rom.12:2. So we have to be careful about getting too into some of these worldly ways & fashions etc., because it seems that when people really get into these things it sort of opens them up to getting the spirit of them‚ like the spirit of worldliness‚ which is the lust of the flesh & the pride of life—in other words‚ pride & selfishness & greed, etc. We need to guard against that.

10. Plus, we should consider whether it's something we really need to do in order to "become one" with those we're witnessing to & trying to reach. Is it really something that is that important that it will affect your witness if you don't do it, even if "all the kids are doing it"? Should you perhaps look around & see how many of them aren't doing it? Sometimes the kids doing it are just part of a minority clique, like those who shave their heads or dye their hair orange or green or whatever. We should probably also consider the fact that getting your ears pierced twice & buying extra pairs of good quality earrings can be pretty expensive‚ so at least from the financial angle‚ it might not bear good fruit. So even if you feel that something might bear good fruit in some respects, if it doesn't bear good fruit in other respects, you have to weigh things out & judge if the overall fruit is good or not.

11. You girls may enjoy wearing something simply because it is pretty or you feel pretty in it. Granted, it is good to be well-groomed, to be a good sample, to do the most with what the Lord has given you—that's being a good steward, & there is satisfaction in that. On the other hand, if you are too preoccupied with your outward appearance, it can pull you away from the attention you need to give to spiritual values, your "inner man."—1Pet.3:4. Rather than being an encouragement, styles can become a distraction to the point that the clothes own you, instead of you owning the clothes!

12. While we don't want you teens to think that you have to dress in all the latest styles & fashions of the World to be attractive or to witness effectively, neither do we want you to go to the other extreme of dressing so conservatively that the kids in the System can't relate to you at all. You teens need to look like the System teens enough in your outward appearance so those kids will at least be interested in talking to you, & then you can show them how different you really are! But you are not even going to get close enough to the kids in the System to be able to witness to them if they think you are so weird‚ old-fashioned or churchy that they're scared or turned off by you. I think it's a matter of balance.

13. Generally, you can just dress comfortably & neatly in the moderate style that most kids wear in whatever country you're in. In other words, the style that is usually acceptable in school, that the teachers don't frown on or try to get the students to change. I don't see anything wrong with you dressing like the System kids who dress moderately & fairly neatly & attractively, & aren't on the fringe with punk styles or any other outlandish styles. If you just look "normal" or like the average young person, neither too old-fashioned or conservative nor too "far-out" & extreme, you will be able to witness more effectively because you won't be drawing undue attention to yourself & your outward appearance, but rather to the Lord & His Spirit within you & His Word that you have to share with them.

14. Of course‚ even if a majority of people in the World follow certain trends or styles, it doesn't mean that we have to do the same.—Particularly when we feel that certain worldly ways or styles are ugly or ungodly or unscriptural. That's when we just have to draw the line, whether something is popular with the worldlings or not!

15. In every country there's the majority group of teens that would be considered fairly moderate or average, & I don't know why our own kids can't dress the way they do, if that's the kind of clothes that the Lord supplies for them. However, I don't think we need to go out of our way to make sure our teens get exactly the same clothes the majority of the System teens wear. But if there is a choice or if the Lord supplies clothes that are the same, then I don't see why our kids can't wear them.

16. I don't think we need to have too many restrictions on teens' clothes, unless it's just too outlandish or it causes bad fruit in the teens when they wear it, such as getting everyone's attention more focused on clothes than anything else, & comparing amongst each other, etc. Dad has never come down hard on our Home's teens, restricting them from clothes or styles that were within reason. Of course, if David wanted to wear his hair in a punk style, Dad would probably put his foot down about that, because it would associate David with punk rockers, which would be a bad testimony. If you teens had punk haircuts or wore black leather pants & jackets with silver studs, most people's first impressions would generally be negative & they wouldn't want to talk to you, which would hinder your witness & would not glorify God. Even if they were willing to listen to you, their attention would still be so distracted by your outward appearance that they would not be able to concentrate fully on the Message.

17. On the other hand, there have been times within the privacy of our own Home & grounds where David has put his slightly long hair in a little ponytail, for what reasons I didn't ask, but I suppose either he just felt in the mood to be different or his head was hot or he wanted to see what we'd say & if we'd let him do it, etc. Well I didn't ask him‚ or find out why, just because I didn't feel it was that big a deal‚ & if he wanted to do it, that was perfectly all right with us. It usually didn't last for more than a day anyway. But even if it had, I don't see that there would have been any reason to forbid it. (Note: I just asked David about this, & I thought you'd be interested to know that he said it was because he wanted to be different.)

18. We don't really have a dress code other than just dressing for comfort & convenience & rather moderately, like the majority of the population, so our clothes blend in fairly well with everybody else. I don't think we should restrict our teens too much in this area, unless we find that the clothes they're wearing are either having a bad effect on them or are a bad testimony to others.

Teens Witnessing about Controversial Subjects!

19. We've cautioned you teens before about being careful when witnessing not to get too much into controversial subjects. However, in today's world where the majority of people are directly opposed to almost everything that is Godly & Biblical & Scriptural, almost everything we believe is going to be controversial! Practically everything you say, they're going to disagree with! We're on a completely different wavelength on most subjects than the World is‚ so many of the things we believe & live are in direct opposition to the way they believe.

20. So if we tell you to stay away from controversial subjects‚ what are you going to talk about besides Salvation? (And even Salvation can be controversial with some!) If we're trying to teach you personal witnessing, & if we really mean that you should talk to people, then you're not going to be able to stay away from controversial subjects because almost everything is going to be controversial.

21. As a previous GN brings out (GN 516‚ pg.20), kids today, more than ever, are trained to debate & doubt, they're trained to argue! They're trained to be sceptical & not to believe anything! So just about anything you young people are going to talk to them about is going to be controversial & is going to be a subject that can be argued. You kids are just going to have to be able to say, "Well, this is what the Bible says about it!—This is what the Bible says about abortion. This is what the Bible says about the environment. This is what the Bible says about homosexuality & AIDS."—Or about the death penalty or mercy killing, whatever hot subjects people are interested in today. And if you're unable to quote them specific chapters & verses from the Bible, but you know what the MO Letters teach about the subject that's being discussed‚ then you can preach that to them! And if you've got "Mountain Streams" Letters or Posters or a Treasures Book or DFs or any other GP tools on you that address the topic‚ don't hesitate to show them the answers from our printed lit.

22. Actually, it's probably difficult to avoid discussing controversial doctrines when you're out witnessing to other teens. We could say, "Well, try to sidestep & avoid such topics," but kids today want to know about those things!—And when you kids can show them the answers right out of the Bible, it's powerful! So if somebody asks about something controversial, & you know the answer, I think you should probably tell them. I just don't know how we can tell you to sidestep all the present-day issues & just stick to talking about Salvation & the Holy Spirit. You can try to do that, but some of these hot subjects are certain to come up. I certainly wouldn't initiate the conversation on any of these "sticky" subjects, but I don't see how we can tell you not to discuss them if the subject comes up.

23. I did try to tell you in a GN not to get led astray into anything like that, or to bring those kinds of things up yourself, but what if somebody asks you such a question point-blank? If you try to sidestep it, today's teens will think you're trying to cover up & hide something. Of course‚ if you don't know the answer, then just tell them you don't know. But if you do know it, then I think you need to tell them the answer. After all, they need to see that the Bible has the answers for everything! If you know the answers, why shouldn't you give them?

24. Even if you don't know where the verses are in the Bible, you ought to be able to talk intelligently on these things. After all, we've had Dad's Letters & teachings on many of these subjects. I think you owe it to the people to give them the Truth. So you don't always have to know where to find the Bible verses, although it's always very powerful when you can show them the answer right out of the Bible. But even if you can't, you can just explain what the Bible or the Letters say about the subject. The worldly teens will be giving their opinions on these topics, & you teens' opinions are much better than theirs because yours are based on the Word. So even if you can't point out the exact chapter & verse, you have good Godly Scriptural opinions & you should give them.

25. Of course, it may get you into some trouble, I understand that, because you are going to be the prophets crying in the wilderness & being a minority voice in a World of evil. So your Scriptural, Godly answers will often be mocked & scoffed at & ridiculed. "For there shall come in the Last Days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, `Where is the promise of His coming?—For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.'"—2Pet. 3:4. But it's your responsibility to share the Truth with people. It's part of your witness. And here & there, you will get some positive response from the sheep who are hungry & who are starving for the Truth, & who will listen to you & who will receive it.

Your Readiness for the Witnessing Battle!

26. Some of our Shepherds have said that you teens weren't really ready for the battles you faced when you went out witnessing. Well, as far as I can tell, the Lord has clearly shown that He wants you teens to get out & witness, & that witnessing is going to be a key to keeping you happy, inspired & challenged! I think He's made it pretty clear, & getting out witnessing has certainly had overwhelming good fruit in your lives! I know that you have a lot to learn & you aren't very experienced, you're like soldiers in boot camp who you might say aren't ready for the battle either, but they have to go if the call comes‚ & then they get experienced very quickly.

27. I don't think anybody is ever ready for the witnessing battle until they've actually been through it, & the only way you teens are going to learn to fight on the witnessing front is if you get out there & witness! It's been proven over & over that once you get out face to face with lost souls, that the majority of you do very well, & it strengthens your convictions about the Lord & the Family. The witnessing war has begun‚ & whether you're ready or not, you've got to get out there & fight!

"Training Up" Our Teens in the Way They Should Go!

28. Our enemies are accusing us of not allowing our teens to make their own choices about their future. Their accusation is that our kids can't make the right decisions because we keep them too sheltered, so how can they decide what to do with their life if they haven't been exposed to all the possibilities? They say our teens need to get away from the Family & experience the World, they need to go to System school & fill their head with worldly wisdom & then they will be able to decide what they want to do.

29. That's always been the Devil's trick, to get the parents to believe that the kids have to be able to make their own choices‚ so you shouldn't teach them anything or influence them, you should just let them learn things on their own & have as much input on every different level & from every different source‚ & then they can make their own decision. That's absolutely ridiculous & directly contrary to what the Lord says!

30. The Bible says "train up a child in the way he should go, & when he is old, he will not depart from it."—Pro.22:6. It says right there that you're supposed to tell him what to do‚ you're supposed to train them, & then they won't depart from it! The definition of train is, "To guide or control the mental‚ moral, physical, etc. development of someone." So we are supposed to guide our children & to teach them the Truth & to protect them from the Devil's outside influences!

31. Besides, if you‚ their parents & teachers, don't train them in the way they should go, the Devil will train them in the way they shouldn't go, you can be assured of that. He's just attacking & criticising you for training them & directing their choices, because he wants to get you so under condemnation that you relinquish your hold on them & give them over to him, so he can train them!—In the wrong way! All this talk about letting the kids make their own choices & letting them see the World & see all it has to offer, & then they can decide for themselves, is just a smoke screen to cover up the fact that the Devil's right in there teaching them & training them through all this wrong information & all these wrong choices to go his way, not God's way!

32. The Devil doesn't mind giving them a variety of choices, as long as they're all his choices, the wrong choices, & he doesn't really care which one of these wrong choices they make.—Just so it's a worldly choice & not a Godly one. So he tries to condemn you parents & teachers, saying that you're so narrow-minded & so unfair, so intolerant & bigoted & old-fashioned because you're only presenting your kids with the Bible & a Christian education. Whereas he comes along portraying himself as so open-minded & so tolerant & so understanding & so sympathetic & so in tune with the times because he's presenting them with a multitude of options: different ideologies, different viewpoints, different religions‚ different attitudes, etc.

33. Of course he has a lot to offer, & he can couch his temptations in all sorts of noble-sounding terms in order to try to disguise what he's really up to, but in the end it all falls under the big umbrella of the Devil's own training & his ungodly education. "For all that is in the World, the lust of the flesh & the lust of the eyes & the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the World!"—1Jn.2:16.

34. The Enemy's road is very broad & he's got a lot of evil to offer. But he's an expert at sprucing it up & making his wide variety of ideas & beliefs & viewpoints all look very appealing on the outside. That's been his tactic for centuries, from the time he persuaded Adam & Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, by convincing them that it was "good for food, pleasant to the eyes, & a tree to be desired to make one wise."—Gen.3:6. But all his ways are the ways of death.

35. Yes, God's a little narrow-minded, because He knows that His way is the only right way, the way that leads to life eternal, & if you start going down any of the other roads, they're all going to lead to destruction. The narrow road doesn't always look so enticing or appealing, nor nearly as challenging. Who doesn't like to make their own choice & have a lot of options to choose from?—A lot of glitter & appeal & attractiveness. The Devil makes his temptations look just as wonderful as he possibly can to entice you & seduce you into walking down one of his many paths. But don't be deceived, they're all dead end roads.—And they all lead to destruction! If you allow him to deceive you, you'll find that the glitter & glamour will soon fade away‚ & that you're caught in the "snare of the fowler" (Psa.91:3) who enticed you into his trap through one of his many baits.

36. Our enemies & the Devil are going to try to give you a "choice" by trying to offer you all that the World has to offer, "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes & the pride of life." The "pleasures of sin" may look good for a season, but you need to remember that even if you have to "suffer affliction with the people of God" (Heb.11:25), that the Family & living in the Lord's service is better in every way than anything you'll ever be offered by the System!

37. Of course, we have to be realistic that there are going to be some of our kids who just don't want to make the right choices & who have already determined in their hearts that they don't want to yield & they don't want to obey the Lord; they want to get out of the Family because they love the World & the things of the World. So when they get a chance to go to the World‚ they'll take it. It's always sad when one of our teens goes‚ & it's especially rough on you parents, teachers & Shepherds. But if they've made up their mind & have made their choice to leave, we should be thankful that we don't have to waste any more of our valuable time pouring into them when they "don't want the books," & when our many other deserving teens need our help & counsel. In that type of case, the sooner we & they find out‚ the better.

38. There was one girl who left not too long ago who had left the Family several times before. She had been very difficult to handle for years‚ she was very rebellious & stubborn & unyielded, so they probably should have placed her with some relatives or someone outside of the Family a long time ago. The Lord finally delivered everyone by having her make the decision to permanently leave herself, since none of us had gotten the point all those years that her place just wasn't in the Family.

39. Mind you, I'm not saying that any time one of our kids shows an interest in the World that we should send them out. And we're not trying to get rid of any teens who are just weakened, discouraged, upset or confused. But in a case where the teen has had serious problems for years & has expressed over & over again the thought of leaving, then we should consider arranging to have them go, possibly to live with their grandparents or some other relative who would be willing to take them in. At least that way they won't continue to be a drain on the valuable time of our teen Shepherds & they won't be a continual bad influence on others. It's sad to lose them, because we dearly love our teens & each one is so valuable & has had years of training poured into them, but if they have made an obvious‚ determined choice to go, then it's better to do all we can to help them on their way. We don't keep anyone against their will, & in fact, if they keep saying they want to be somewhere else‚ we agree that they—& we—would be much better off if they left.

Vocational Training for Teens!

40. You teens in the Family have a wonderful opportunity for vocational training. Many of you have already become secretaries, experts in childcare, expert maintenance men & handymen, video technicians, editors, writers, etc. Isn't it fulfilling knowing that you've been able to learn a real skill? Many of you have become virtual professionals in many important areas, & become fruitful & fulfilled at your jobs, as opposed to just sitting in school ingesting a lot of useless knowledge like your counterparts in the System!—Head-stuffing that they're not going to remember anyway! You have your share of scholastics too, but you can have both scholastics & vocational training, & the right balance between the two.

41. I'm all for you teens receiving as much practical training as you can. You should learn an actual job or a skill or something that you're interested in & are happy about & that you see as something responsible & that you can accomplish something concrete in, something that will help others & help you to feel confident & well prepared for life.

42. We should look at our teens' education realistically, & if we know that they're definitely not going to need some aspect of their training later on, something that is unnecessary—something that we know we don't need—we shouldn't push it. There are so many other things that they could be doing that they would love, that would not only help them to feel responsible & challenged & fulfilled, but would help others as well!

43. I hope that besides becoming expert witnesses, our teens can become skilled in some of these other things as well. We have some very important jobs that they can learn that will always be in demand, like baby-care, childcare‚ teaching, cooking, sewing, secretarial work, construction, maintenance, handyman, computer work, video work, photography, music, etc. All these are great vocational training, & in learning these skills they will be way ahead of teens their own age in the System. Most kids have to slave away in school for years & then they get out & start learning their jobs, whereas our kids get a big head start by learning these skills much earlier!

Rotating Ministries for Teens

44. I would hope that by the time our young people reach the age of 21 they will have had a chance to try out a wide variety of ministries. It would be beneficial for them to rotate through different ministries, even those they don't have a special liking for, so they'll at least have had a chance to try them & learn something about them. Many of our teens get into doing one ministry & they get in that groove & think that's the ministry they're going to have forever, so they don't even have the desire or the faith to try something else. They feel safe & secure in doing their one ministry, & they've learned to do it well‚ so they're a little hesitant to launch out into something new.

45. Even if they do want to change ministries, they may have become so needed in one particular job, & learned it so well, that they tend to get stuck there & don't have the opportunity to learn other things. So in order to give them more opportunities as well as more well-rounded training, we need to give them the chance to rotate ministries more. Perhaps we ought to almost make it mandatory!—Or at least we should strongly suggest that any time a teen has learned one thing well & has learned to do it right & has been a blessing in that area & has trained someone else to take over their job, that they should be rotated into a different ministry to allow them to learn more & broaden their horizons. Of course, to do this we'll have to make sure that we provide another person for them to train.

46. Often teens find out after they're more or less pushed into something new that they actually do like that other job or ministry better than the old one! Most teens are constantly changing in their outlooks, in their attitudes & their desires, & the more diversity they can experience‚ the better it is.—And of course, the more skilled & talented they will become. So I think they would welcome mandatory rotational training in a variety of areas.

47. Although David's main vocational training has been in handyman & carpentry, he's had some experience in other practical ministries as well. He was even on laundry for a while. It didn't last very long, but at least he had some experience in learning how to sort clothes & what to wash with what & how to operate the washing machine. He's also learned to cook a few meals‚ & is currently on the breakfast schedule once a week. He's just learned a few of the basics‚ but if he ever wanted to work fulltime in the kitchen, he wouldn't be totally unfamiliar with the job. Techi‚ on the other hand, cooks very well & is very capable at other homemaking skills. And though she hasn't had a lot of experience in childcare, she has at least been exposed to it enough to see what it's like & to see how she likes it.

48. I feel that the more our teens are able to experience a wider variety of things, the better off they're going to be when it comes time for them to shepherd & care for others. I think our new vocational training program will thrill them & cause them to want to try all the exciting things available for them to learn. (Coming soon‚ D.V. Please pray for it!)

49. Even though I'm suggesting that our young people rotate & try as many jobs as possible, I'm not suggesting that they have to become super-skilled experts in every field. I don't think that they should have to stay so long in each ministry that they try out that they become an expert at it. I think it's very good for them to be exposed to a variety of ministries, so if there's ever a need in one of those areas & they want to help out, they will have had at least a little bit of experience in it, & they will therefore have some confidence that they can get in there & do the job that's needed.

Helping Our Teens Look at "Problems" as Challenges!

50. One of you teens mentioned to me in a letter that you were discouraged because you had been going through a lesson-learning time, & you felt as though you were a problem case. I think that's a very common perception, that when you are going through difficult times & having to learn some lessons & making mistakes & receiving correction, you feel like a problem case & feel that everyone views you as such. It's too bad that you look at it that way. Just because you are experiencing a problem certainly doesn't make you a problem case.

51. Our problems aren't something to look down on or feel bad about‚ because life is made up of multiple problems. In fact, our life is full of problems every day! We're always going to have some problems! We're all going to have problems! But it's a challenge to find a solution to them & get the victory over them! So you shouldn't look down on yourself or anyone else because they have problems, because if you're not faced with some problems, then you're not going to feel challenged to solve them. It's through solving our problems that we grow.

52. When I was in school they'd give us what they called "math problems" to solve. They call them problems because they're challenges, you're challenged to solve the problem. Math "problems" weren't considered to be bad or to be looked down on, they were challenges! And it's the same with the problems we face in our life for the Lord: They aren't something that we should look upon negatively. They're something that we should look on as a challenge, something that with the Lord's help we can solve & overcome so we can go on to the next one, like Dad brings out so clearly in "Greater Victories."

53. In order to grow & to mature & to gain experience, you need to go through the exercise of solving & overcoming problems. So you teens certainly shouldn't think that just because things come up in your life that you have to work on, & because you have weak areas that you have to strengthen, & you have lessons you need to learn‚ that you're a "problem case." That's not the right attitude or the right way to look at things at all!

54. We're happy when people are growing & getting victories over their problems, but they couldn't do that if they were problem-free.—You can't get a victory unless you have a problem. It's like Grandpa says, "No victory without a battle, no triumph without a trial." In other words, no victory without a problem! No solution without a problem! So be thankful you have problems, because without them you wouldn't get victories! Be thankful you have battles so you can win victories. Be thankful you have problems so you can find solutions to them!—Because you wouldn't be progressing or growing if you weren't continually finding solutions & remedies for the problems you face each day.

55. So don't feel bad because you're learning lessons, & don't think that because you're having difficulties here & there that people are looking down on you & criticising you & thinking of you as a "problem case" for having problems. You're only a "problem case" if you stubbornly continue to hold on to your problems & don't try to find solutions to them or overcome the obstacles in your life. You're only a "problem case" if you just keep on having the same ones over & over & don't try to do anything about them, & aren't concerned about trying to get the victory!—No matter how long your problems last, as long as you're fighting for solutions, you're growing, & if you're growing you're not a "problem case"!

Commending Teens for

the Good They Do

56. One time when Techi didn't make her bed, I noticed it because usually it's nicely made. And I was about to mention it to her, & I thought maybe the right way to go about it would be to say, "Honey, you make your bed nicely so often, almost all of the time, that the one time you didn't make it, it really stood out. I just want to commend you on making it so beautifully every day. This one day I'm sure you must have had some good reason for having to go off & leave it unmade."

57. It was a very small thing, but it reminded me of how often we don't notice the good, but we do notice the bad, & then we make a big deal about the negative. At least if we're not going to notice the good, when the bad comes up it should remind us of all the good that has been done. So at least if we failed to mention the good while it was being done, at that point we can try to remedy matters somewhat by going back & commending them for all the good that has been done, instead of nagging them about the bad.—And then they'll probably get the point.

58. Very often we take the negative approach & say, "Honey, you didn't make your bed today! What happened?"—Instead of all the times you should be telling her, "Oh, Honey, you really make your bed so nicely." We should be doing that more often, & then that would probably prevent her feeling bad on any of the days when the bed is left unmade. Also, we need to realise that if a slip-up occurs only once in a great while, there is probably a very good reason for it, & you shouldn't be too quick to condemn & think the person is just being lazy. When someone has a consistently good record‚ then they can be allowed a lot more leeway, understanding & mercy, & the realisation that they probably have a very good reason for being delinquent.