What spans the generation gap? Why are so many youths unhappy — frustrated and indifferent? What is the source of real happiness? Where do you get the answers?
WHAT should a young person get out of life? Fun? Excitement? Thrills? Happiness? What do you look up to? What type of person do you want to emulate? James Bond? Clint Eastwood? Raquel Welch? The Maharishi? Joe Namath? After all, they are "with it," they lead thrill-packed lives, don't they? Thousands have been transfixed in theater chairs as 007 races for the door of his modified Aston-Martin with a voluptuous girl on one arm and a sleek, smoking automatic in his other hand. Or the fellows identify with the massive, rugged Arizona deputy who bashes in the heads of a half dozen New York "hoods" — and "gives New York City 24 hours to get out of town." The girls have vicariously played the role of the irresistible starlet as she vamped the stoutest of men or verbally lacerated her nearest female competition. Everyone longs and aches for his idea of fulfillment and pleasure. Every normal young person wants to excel, be looked up to for whatever — brains, athletic prowess, beauty, sex appeal, ingenuity. But today, youth finds itself frustrated, mixed-up, despondent and looking for answers. Youth is turning to drugs, free "love," and hippyism to fill the vacuum in life. Where are the answers? Are they to be found in drugs and illicit thrills? Where do you find the way to true happiness and accomplishment? It's time you found out!
The Good Is Bad and Ugly
You live in a world of confused values. Society has taught you to detest the "boy scout type" who sits with folded hands and hair parted in the middle consoling Aunt Agatha who broke her hip after tripping over her prayer book. Society ostracizes the "goody-good." If you don't cheat in school, on your income tax, on your steady, you are square — a fink — a real oddball! You know how it is. In recent meetings with teenagers in numerous American cities we asked some interesting questions. For example, "How many of you know where to go in your school to get drugs?" The response was shocking. NINETY PERCENT KNEW RIGHT WHERE TO Go! Everyone knew who to see to buy booze if he was a minor. Everyone knew who to date for a real "fun" time. Many knew who to buy a research paper from — who to see for a copy of the latest science test. It is too bad — but that IS the way youthful society works. Parents of these teenagers were shocked that their sons and daughters had such knowledge. But those of us who educate America's youth are not shocked at what teenagers know. No — not shocked — but the Administrators and Faculty of Ambassador College are deeply interested in and concerned about the problems of our youth. This society winks at pre-marital sex, turns an indifferent and calloused face from homosexuality and lesbianism. It's an age that makes a hero out of the irreverent wise guy, the hood and the hippy. A time when the "cop" is contemptible and the rioter revered. It's a backward modern age! Perhaps the decade of the sixties has given youth more of what IT wanted than any other age. Young, people today have fewer restrictions and more license than could have possibly been dreamed of a few years ago. Moral and social taboos have been made flexible and in many cases, dissolved. Financial means are more accessible, cars hotter, liquor freer — everything that base nature could want. But what have these liberties bequeathed to you — the youth of America, Britain, and the world? Are you suddenly happier? Are you savoring life more deeply? Are you now enjoying a more complete fulfillment than ever before? Take a look at the facts. The juvenile crime picture, for example, is a grim one indeed for 1969. To date, one out of every SIX American boys under 18 has been taken to juvenile court for at last ONE offense! Venereal disease is skyrocketing. Teen-age suicides are increasing — youth as a whole is more frustrated than ever. Chances are good you know or have known a teenager with V.D. Everyone knows of at least several couples who had to get married. What about those who blew their minds on drugs? The kid who tried to stop the train with his bare hands, or Sally, the 17 year-old who wasted away to 71 pounds before a detective found her lying on a mattress under heaps of garbage. Or what about the 14 year-old runaway girl from Tacoma. Her arms bore a dozen hideous, festering needle marks, compliments of a "loving" 20-year-old friend who "turned her on" several times a day. The facts provide eloquent testimony that the trends of our youthful society are not bringing TRUE HAPPINESS. So where do we go for ANSWERS? Let's begin by examining the life of a man who knew how to "live" — an individual who had everything you've always wanted!
The King That Had Everything
The earth has swept around the sun several thousand times since this man drew breath. He was quite a man — a man's man. He had everything, and then some. He was the world's first billionaire. He had access to anything and everything he wanted. Some of you think you have a lot of girls — or fellows — "after you" or "in love" with you. How many do you have? Half a dozen? A dozen? If you do, you probably feel like a real "tiger." But if you've only got a dozen girls mad about you — YOU ARE NOTHING! This individual had ONE THOUSAND OF THE WORLD'S MOST DESIRABLE, VOLUPTUOUS AND SENSUAL WOMEN at his beck and call. He had blondes, redheads, brunettes, auburn-haired girls, black-headed girls of every possible size, shape and build. He had tall girls, short girls, long-haired girls, short-haired girls. He had sweet girls and sassy ones, smart ones and dumb ones. He had a female for every occasion. If he saw one a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, it would have taken him almost three years to see one a second time. You probably think that's living. So did he? But the interesting thing to note is 1,000 women did NOT bring him happiness. Since women didn't completely satisfy him, he turned to other things. He tried drinking, but that didn't do the trick. He tried foolishness. He was entertained by the world's funniest comedians and enjoyed lusty, sidesplitting jokes. That didn't do it either. He tried constructive things as well. He built breathtaking gardens, fabulous halls. He even built the world's finest religious temple. But none of these things provided what he was after. It was a real paradox. A man who had everything, did everything, tried everything, but wasn't happy. People literally came from all over the world simply to hear him utter his pearls of wisdom. Women fell at his feet. He was KING of a mighty nation and commanded untold wealth. He was a great writer and the wisest man who ever drew a breath of air till his time yet he never really experienced total, deep and true HAPPINESS. He even admitted it in his autobiography. His name was Solomon and you can read his words for yourself in Ecclesiastes 2:1-11.
The Conclusion of the Matter
When everything was said and done, King Solomon reflected, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Eccl. 12:13). Yes, the wisest man who ever lived proved irrevocably that unless you are in harmony with God and His Law — you will NEVER be completely happy. That physical thrills and pleasure apart from God's Way don't give you the abundant life you seek. It is a vital lesson for all you teenagers to learn. God is exposing you to His Truth. Many have come to hear the Truth through parents who have heard The WORLD TOMORROW and read The PLAIN TRUTH over the years. Perhaps, at times, some of you even regret the knowledge you have. Others have desired the contact with the Work of God on their own. Regardless of how or why you came into the knowledge — you are being JUDGED on what you do with it! We have talked with teens who claim God doesn't hold them accountable for their actions. "We're too young to know the difference from right and wrong, therefore we can go out and play around with sex, lie and cheat in school, get 'stoned' on the weekends. Of course, when we get older, we will become respectable members of society — then we will change!" But "THEN" may be too LATE!
Breakaway Cars — But Not People
It takes courage to change. No one can deny it. Anyone can drift through life, roll with the waves and bend with the crowds. But to stand up for what's right, to demonstrate character — that takes backbone — not wishbone! The advertising industry talks about people who'd rather fight than switch. Do you know anyone who would allow someone to bash in his face, rather than switch cigarette brands? Or advertisers sell cars to those who want a "breakaway" from the ordinary, run-of-the-mill, mundane society. But who is "breaking away" from the rotten society you live in? Who is saying, "I will not take LSD, because it blows your mind, it deforms potential offspring — AND WHAT'S MORE, I THINK YOU'RE A STUPID GOOF IF YOU DO." Who is saying, "I want to marry a virgin, so therefore I don't intend to go out and spoil someone else's future wife." Or what stalwart soul is condemning homosexuality as a perverse, foul, sick-minded and demented way of life. Who is refusing to pay to see a hit movie of two mentally deranged women slobbering over each other? Precious few!! It's not chic to stand up for what you believe in — to call a spade a spade. But whether it is chic or not, you must face the question squarely. Christ reveals He came that WE (that includes teens) should have an abundant life (John 10:10). Christ was a teenager at one time. He faced all the frustrations, anxieties and problems you are experiencing. He's familiar, acquainted personally, with them; and He still says you can have an abundant life if you live by the guidelines He and His Father laid down. When should you begin following these guidelines? As soon as you come to know them — regardless if you are 12, 13, 15, or 19. Where do you find these guidelines? Many of them you already know through your association with our magazine. The source, though, is God's personal instruction book to mankind (no matter what age) — the Bible! Also articles will continue monthly on vital subjects that concern YOU. In addition, we've just completed a new, fully illustrated book on modern dating. It gives priceless instruction on how to assure yourself of an ideal marriage. Teen problems of premarital pregnancy, petting, necking, interracial marriages — all are dealt with frankly and squarely. We encourage you to write for it immediately. And what about "HOW" to go about acting on the knowledge you're getting. As we said before, that is the part that takes courage, REAL COURAGE! People, even your "friends," may laugh, ridicule you and call you square if you "break away." SO WHAT? Sure it cuts for the moment. But then you know something they don't. You know that there is a God who sits in the Heaven above, whose Son is returning to rule this world. He's a kind and a loving God. But He is also a God who will smash the perverse and defiant people who rebel against His way. And because of the knowledge you have, you'll be able to stand for what you know. You're no "goody-good" or "pansy." But you do have the character to meet the challenge of the age, to reflect the needed willpower and determination. NONE of you fellows or girls need to apologize for what is RIGHT. Hippies spout the phrase "find your thing and do it." Hopefully YOU have found YOUR THING (obedience to God) and you're doing it. There is no need for apology, for sheepishness. Be positive, confident that your way is the way of the future. Of course, you don't need to go around antagonizing others, but then you don't need to slink off into the corner, either. The rewards for obedience to God are fathomless. Both of us who wrote this article were somehow blessed with the knowledge of God's Truth in our teens. We've now joined the "establishment" age group. But we're not removed from your problems as teenagers. We know for a fact that obedience to God is the ONLY REAL WAY to happiness. We're not talking about things we don't know anything about and haven't experienced. We've seen "both sides of the coin." And neither one of us would trade places now (or anytime since we began obeying God) with Clint Eastwood, James Bond, Hugh Hefner or anyone else. God has blessed us with loving wives and healthy children, pleasant homes and rewarding jobs. He holds these blessings out to you, too. But you have to be willing to make the necessary, positive changes He instructs. Your willingness and degree of change determine those blessings.
Coming Next Month
How to be a teenager is a very broad subject. We've just begun to scratch the surface of showing young people how to live, how to reach the happy and abundant life. This article has shown you the foundation of knowledge — God's Word. From this basic beginning you will find how to be a real man — how to be a real woman — how to make the teen years the most productive, enjoyable years of life; a time to look back on with joy, not with heartache and sorrow. Next month we'll see just what it takes to rear a boy. How to become a man — and following that an article on how to be a girl and develop into a wholesome teenager and THEN INTO TRUE WOMANHOOD. Be certain to read every article in this vitally important series directed to the young readers of TOMORROW'S WORLD.