Currently, Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream is top 10 on iTunes. It’s huge. And I am not ashamed to admit that when it pops up on my iTunes I listen to it 3-4 times in a row.
While I’m sure most youth workers groan when they hear this song… I take a totally different perspective.
I want this to be my students dream, too.
Well, not exactly— since the video leaves a lot to the imagination. Here’s what I mean by “I want this to be my students dream, too.”
- I want my students to have a fun, audacious, spontaneous, and exciting sex life. (Until they get married- “Pre-sex lives.”)
- I want them to fall in love and be happy with that person for a long time. I want their love life to be fun, like a teenage dream.
- I want them to fall in love early in life. I want them to grow up (meaning, take full responsibility for themselves) and get married ASAP. I believe we’re creating a self-fulfilling prophesy that they aren’t ready when they are.
Perhaps the reason this song speaks to so many people is because we tell people to wait too long for this type of relationship? Perhaps there was no room in our lives at 18 or 19 years old for a no-regrets love affair? Perhaps our parents scared us out of teenage dreams with statistics about divorce and telling us we needed to go to college first?
But this dream, I believe, is quite similar to God’s desire for us. The Bible is clear about sex before marriage. But it is equally clear about early marriage.
I just know when I watch this video I think about my relationship with Kristen. We were almost 19 when we met. We took lots of walks on the beach. (aka- free dates) Outside of the motel line– that video was us! Our parents both told us we were too young and we ignored them. (Just like they ignored their parents warnings!)
When we got married at 21 we fulfilled the dreams of this video and it was great. (Though, Kristen grew up baptist so skin tight jeans were out of the question.)
My prayer for youth ministry is that we are crazy enough to tell our students and their helicopter parents that they need to have teenage dreams for themselves. I pray that we become culture creators and truth tellers in such a way that gives our society a wake-up call. Teenage Dreams isn’t shameful. We would not exist as a people if it weren’t for generations of teenage dreamers. We don’t need to shame teenagers from their sexuality, we need to teach them appropriate ways to embrace it.