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Blessings and challenges faced by teens today

07/24/2019 09:30:00 AM


Rabbi Laura Abrasley

On Tuesday night, I joined 50 or so Boston area Jewish professionals who work with teenagers at a performance of the Broadway hit Dear Evan Hansen. This excellent program, sponsored by CJP, was part of an ongoing initiative to support teens and teen education in our community. The show, without giving too much of it away if you have not seen it yet, is intense and timely. The themes of loneliness, isolation, the dangers of social media, loss, connection and teen angst hit home in ways I was not quite expecting.
While I truly felt for the lead character and his emotions resonated with some of my own, I found myself most drawn to the perspective of the parents in the musical. Adolescence is indeed a very difficult time for teens, but I think we sometimes forget the complex journey parents of teens experience as they try to guide a young person through these years.
The show reminds us that the job of parenting can also be complex, lonely and isolating. And in spite of our best efforts, we adults may not have all the answers. Parents sometimes need real help when it comes to adolescent mental health.
More importantly, I think we need to remember that today’s world of instant gratification and information will never be a substitute for real relationships. Teens and parents of teens alike deserve a place in a community that sees them, values them and is prepared to surround them in both good and challenging times.
Temple Shalom’s education staff is hard at work revitalizing our teen program. The offerings for this coming program year reflect the diverse needs of our teens and their ever-changing lives. We are committed as educators and clergy to be among the caring adults in a teen’s life and support our community members navigating the hills and valleys of raising the next generation. Dear Evan Hansen was a tender reminder of the blessings and challenges faced by teens today and those who love them deeply. Please know we are here to support and love you as you support and love them.

Wishing you a sweet Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Abrasley
P.S. If you are the parent of an emerging adolescent, you might consider joining us in the fall for our Mindful Parenting of Tweens and Teens class. The course is ideal for parents of kids in fifth grade and up.

Wed, November 13 2019 15 Cheshvan 5780