The two developmental tasks of adolescence
We’ve talked about the principle work of adolescence as spiritual awakening, individuation, and integration into all realms of living. This involves two major developmental tasks. One, the teen must connect head and heart knowing in order for their spiritual and analytical faculties to inform one another. Two, they must integrate all parts of their being—their varied selves as social, emotional, intellectual, and sexual beings—into a whole self, with spirituality at the developmental hub of command central.
Miller, Dr. Lisa. The Spiritual Child (p. 298). St. Martin's Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Oh wow! Teens must learn how to connect their head and heart, and they must get their shit together. That’s a tall order.
What are the factors that facilitate, nurture, and acknowledge these processes?
How good a job do any of them do in our current society?
Rate each of them on a scale of 0 - 10 with 10 = being spot on 100% of the time, 5 = do the job 50% of the time, and 0 = missing in action. Not at all. Once you have rated the five factors add them up. 25 would be a perfect score. Anything 10 or below the teen is in serious trouble. Unfortunately, I encounter, as a mental health professional, many young people with scores of 10 or below. The most glaring absences are church, school, and parents/family, with peers and media often being very problematic.
If people of good will were interested in bolstering the positive presence of these factors in a teens life where would you start? Often it is in the mental health and the criminal justice system because these are the default positions in our society. The primary targets of these systems are to address the needs of adolescents through parents/family, and school.
What about church?
Church is often an afterthought in our post religious society. Is that something that could be remedied? It would be helpful if there was the vision and the will. The most significant intervention would be a 1-2 year volunteer service corps for 16 - 20 year olds. Could/would a church institution fund it and run it? If so, that institution would have dedicated members for life.