What's it like these days for teenagers?

by JeffT 13 Replies latest jw friends

  • JeffT

    I converted at age 22, and left 15 years later (1988) so I don't really know what its like to be in high school as a JW. For those of you who do know: do teenage JW's hang out with each other? worldly kids? nobody? Lie to your parents/elders about it? I'm curious, this might be background material for the novel I'm working on.

    Thanks in advance. Sometime in the next few days I'll put up a post about my latest adventures in writing.

  • Boredposter

    OkI don't know about these days but in the eighties it sucked big time. Pressure, pressure, pressure. Pressure to be perfect and live up to all the JW rules all while your body goes through crazy hormonal changes.

    Right away from a youngster you are different. You can't eat the birthday treats or color the Santa Claus. You can't play sports or date. You can't keep your friends because they are "worldly". You're not even sure about some JW friends. Pressure to Pioneer but don't go to college. Pressure to go to Bethel but don't work full time and improve your job skills. God forbid you work second shift. I could go on and on.

  • asp59

    Think it's worse today for youngsters. Back in the 80s there were some kind of unity. Maybe not unity, but there were congregation partys and such. Not much of that anymore.

  • moreconfusedthanever

    I think it depends on who you are and where you are.

    Growing up in the 80s where I grew up, unless you were an elders child or well to do, you were pretty much irrelevant. Oh unless of course you were an attractive, single brother - then of course all the sisters and their mothers had you on their radar. Hahahaha.

    There were parties and socializing for the "in" crowd and it seems much the same today from what I can tell.

  • shepherdless

    My kids all have “worldly” friends. I am pretty sure they don’t tell anyone at school that they are JWs. My eldest kid (who is completely out) said he never told anyone in school as it would have been “social suicide”.

    I think it is easier for them, because JW kids are so rare, at least in our area. I am pretty certain that so far, through the primary school years, there has never been another JW kid in the whole school (youngest is nearly through primary school). I think in high school there have been one or two.

  • smiddy3

    It is one of the greatest`s regrets of my life that I brought my two boys up in this religion .I hate to think of what their brains were trying to analyze in their younger years going to school and being set apart from the rest of the kids.

    In later years it may have been a bit more relaxed because we were in a community where their were a lot of JW kids in their school and as I have found out later they got up to a lot of mischief that their parents including me never knew about .

    Thankfully as a family my wife and two boys are all out now and are living successful lives .

    While I cant speak authoritatively for today`s kids going by past experience I would say the majority of today`s youth in the religion are still doing their own thing without their parents knowledge , in other words leading a double life.

    Doing what they themselves want to do on the one hand

    and pleasing their parents by doing what they expect them to do on the other hand . {Reluctantly }

  • dozy

    From what I observe , it seems JW teenagers pretty much enjoy the social side of things and social media and messaging apps etc makes it a lot easier for them to do the "double life" thing. Most parents are pretty tolerant - I get the impression as long as their kids are still ( nominally ) JWs then they are quite happy as so many have left. Essentially for teenagers , JW is basically just a social club for those in the various cliques and the "in crowd".

    I was at a couple of JW weddings recently and to be honest , you couldn't have told any difference between JW teenagers and "worldly" ones. The way they dressed was very similar - clearly the counsel on "tight pants" and modest dress had largely fallen on deaf ears. Most drank a lot at the wedding and the noise of the disco made any conversation pretty much impossible.

  • Still Totally ADD
    Still Totally ADD

    Where I lived in central IL back in the 1960's as a teenager there was only one other person who was a jw. So most of my friends were not jw. I mostly keep it a secret from those in our little congregation but for the most part they could care less about me. Then my parents moved me to FL and I had serveral jw teenage friends. We mostly did what other kids did during that time but no drugs or worldly girl friends. We mostly talk about what girl they like at the kh a who we were going to marry. We was just a bunch of dumb teenagers being raised in a cult. One thing the adults jw was most concerned with us was are we going to go to bethel after high school and get your hair cut it's too long. In FL most of the adults at that time were retired. Some even knew Russell and Rutherford personally.

    Now in my 60's I wish I never raised my boys in this cult. To your question I glad I don't have young children today. This instant communication I feel is robbing alot of social skills from today's youth. They may be smarter than we were at this age but it seems the fun and the wonderment of this world is lost by not getting out there and experience it for real. I may be wrong and I most likely am but that's how I feel. Still Totally ADD

  • stillin

    In most cases the teens at the KH are trying to walk the walk. They give little comments that mean no more than the actual wording in the paragraph but it gives them creds with the adults. I, personally, don't believe what I see anymore. Even if there are sincere ones mixed in, they come across as though they think their poop doesn't stink and I doubt that they have any friends. That will eventually wear on them until they cut loose. IMO there was much more potential to have a good life inside this religion years ago than there is now.

  • flipper

    JEFF- I can only speak for my own experience. Like Totally ADD - I was born and raised up in the Jehovah's Witness cult. It was REALLY difficult as my dad was one of the " star " elders in our geographical area constantly too busy on " shepherding " calls in the 1960's & 1970's to spend much time with me - yet he demanded the utmost compliance from me in devotion to the JW cult.

    In 3rd grade I was expected to lead a flag salute in front of 300 other classmates on the stage and I told my teacher I couldn't do it. I wanted to get out of it. But my dad told me " all you have to do is just lead the flag salute and introduce it , but don't say the words and don't put your hand over your heart " . I said, " In front of 300 students and people ? " He said, " you can do it " . I never forgot how stressful and traumatic that was for me- an 8 year old boy. Also I was sent to sit at the school office when my classmates had Birthdays or Halloween celebrations. My teachers had to make other work assignments in grade school for me when the other children were cutting and working on Christmas assignments. It was ridiculous. Kids always asking me " why don't you celebrate Christmas " ?

    So by the time I reached High School although I was good and indoctrinated as a newly baptized JW - I still had non-JW friends at school, my JW mom didn't mind because they were good guy friends I had who I played tennis with outside of school. But my elder dad was still a hard ass and wouldn't let me go out for the high school baseball team as a freshman as he said " it would keep you from attending Tuesday night meetings due to baseball practice " . So I wasn't allowed to go out for ANY sports in High School. My baseball coach was pissed off at my dad because back then I had really good baseball skills as a hitter and was a great outfielder. It totally frustrated me. Also my dad didn't like that I wore my hair somewhat longer. Read me scriptures that as an elders son I had to set an example and that I was " stumbling " other teenagers by my example. Then I read him back the scripture in Romans " Who are you to be judging the house servant of another " ? Of course- that went over like a lead balloon !

    By age 18 I escaped and got out of my dad's house as soon as I could , then finally married young at age 19 - totally too young to marry but like most young JW's - the only way to " legally " have sex and not get dfed in the organization. Tried pioneering and the ministerial servant dance - but got tired of the politics, finally escaped the organization at age 44. It was a frustrating, stifling Mr. Toads wild ride - believe me. Glad I've been out for 15 years ! Freedom is sweet. Being a teenager is hell as a JW if you have one of your parents who is very controlling. My elder dad was. But hey ! At least I can wear my hair any length I want to now ! lol

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