News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 4, 2014

Joy Lady: Does our behavior sometimes make God shake His head in dismay?

Verna Davis
Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — I’m one of those weird adults who actually enjoys spending time with teenagers. Sure, teens can be quick-witted, sharp-tongued, sloppily-dressed, and downright disrespectful of everything and everybody who does not dress, think and act just like they do. But wait — I know lots of adults who act the same way!

I do admit that teenagers can be a bit hard to explain. By observing their actions and by remembering my own teen years, I have come to the conclusion that teenagers and cats have an awful lot in common.

Neither cats nor teenagers will turn their heads when you call them by name. No matter what you do for a cat or a teen, it is not enough. In fact, both cats and teens feel the efforts of the actions and attentions of the adults around them have only one purpose: to wait on them hand and foot.

Cats are rarely seen outside the house in the company of their adult. Likewise, no teenager in his/her right mind really wants to be seen in public with adults, especially those of the parent variety.

Even if your jokes are better than those of a famous stand-up comedian, neither your cat nor your teenager will ever crack a smile. Cats and teenagers can lie on a sofa or a bed for hours on end without moving and appear as if they are barely breathing. When they do awaken, cats and teenagers yawn in the same way — as if they are bored senseless and proud of it.

Cats and teenagers cost money to maintain, don’t appreciate any effort on your part to support them in the manner in which they wish to live, demand your complete attention one minute and shun your presence the next, and neither one will ever share your taste in music.

Here’s something about teenagers we might have forgotten: they listen, even when it seems they are not. They hear the criticism of their clothes and music. They hear teachers tell them that what they think is right is really wrong. They hear their peers tell them it’s OK to be your own person as long as you are just like everyone else. They hear kids more popular tell them they are worthless. They hear the world telling them only weak, non-thinking, naïve individuals believe in Jesus.

I admit teenagers are weird, that I don’t always understand them, that they can be rebellious, obnoxious, disrespectful and can make me shake my head in dismay.

But, this I know, on any given Sunday in any given church, God might be able to see rebellious, obnoxious and disrespectful adults mixed in with the teenagers in the pew.

I wonder, does our behavior sometimes make God shake His head in dismay?

Verna Davis, speaker and writer, may be reached at