Mailbag XVII

by Ed Urzi

Here at his worldwide command center, The Doctor is busily at work calculating the answers to the questions asked by you, the valued members of the online youth community.

Day and night, The Doctor tirelessly studies, researches and responds to the questions, concerns and controversies of teenage life. As part of his service to you, The Doctor stands ready to consult his vast reference library, scour the Internet, and contact the greatest scholars of our day to get the answers that you need.

Yes, in his relentless pursuit of the answers to your questions, The Doctor will stop at absolutely nothing… except maybe to eat some Cheeze Doodles and drink a bottle of Pepsi-Cola. And sleep. And maybe hang around on the couch all morning and watch television game shows and eat pizza. Or play some  games. Or go to the mall. And maybe some other stuff too.

But for now, let’s take a look at the following question that The Doctor received from a 16 year old young lady…

"... I think my parents are still trying to treat me like a little girl and keep me wrapped up in their protection for as long as possible... I think my mom is scared that she is losing her little girl...

The Doctor has heard similar statements from other teens over the years and in fact, The Doctor sometimes felt the same way when he was a teen (except maybe for that “little girl” part). Anyway, you should recognize that two things are true about your situation. First, you’re certainly not a child any more but secondly, you’re also not fully an adult yet either.

You should understand that these realities can present certain problems for your parents in their relationship with you as a teen. The Doctor believes that many parents would like to give their teenage sons and daughters more “adult-type” freedom except for one problem: these parents are concerned that their teens don’t have enough experience to make good, safe choices.

In fact, The Doctor can say from his own personal experience as a teen that 13-17 year olds can sometimes make some really bad choices. You see, The Doctor came very close to killing himself on a number of occasions throughout his own teenage years because of his inexperience or some foolish action on his part.

While everything eventually turned out OK for The Doctor, unfortunately the same wasn’t true for some of his friends and classmates. Sadly, seven of The Doctor’s classmates did not graduate high school with him because they lost their lives due to an accident or an illness. An eighth classmate was killed while walking out of a bar shortly after graduation. Now that he’s a little older, The Doctor can look back on these things with a better appreciation for why his parents didn’t give him all the freedom that he wanted at the time.

Here’s something else that you should consider: remember that your parents are not only concerned about you- they must also be concerned with others who might try to take advantage of you. For example, you may be a very mature person but the world can be a very cruel, hard, dangerous place and there are many bad people who are just waiting to take advantage of a teenage guy or girl in a lot of different ways.

A good parent will always try to protect you from those who may want to take advantage of you and that can sometimes involve restrictions on your freedom that might seem unnecessary to you. So what you may see as “overprotection” by your parents might be viewed by your parents as simply “keeping you safe”!

So what should you do in this situation? Well, the first thing to do is pray and ask God to give you the wisdom to handle this issue (see James 1:2-5). After that, you might try to have an open-minded conversation with your parents about your concerns. Discuss how much freedom you think you should have and the reasons why you feel that way.

If your parents don’t agree with you then respectfully and politely try to find out why. When talking to your parents about this, it’s helpful to try and put yourself in their position. Think about the concerns that you might have if you had a teenage son or daughter and then tell your parents how you will address those concerns. If you pray and talk it out together then perhaps you can come up with some “ground rules” that everyone will be happy with. Why not try it and see what happens?

"Is it alright to be a 'Goth'?"

Well, the answer may depend on what you mean by “Goth.”

For example, if “Goth” means that you want to romanticize the death experience and center your life around dark and brooding themes of depression and tragedy then The Doctor’s answer would be no, it wouldn’t be alright. The reason is that Jesus gives life (John 8:12), joy (John 15:11), peace (John 14:27) and hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). The “doom and gloom” attitude of some in the Goth movement just doesn’t seem to be compatible with the life that Jesus gives to His followers.

However, The Doctor strongly believes that it’s very important not to judge people solely by their outward appearances. Just because someone likes to dye their hair, wear black with velvet and lace and listen to industrial or techno music doesn’t make them bad or wrong. Remember that Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24 NKJ). The Doctor believes that God is more concerned with what a person is like on the inside than on the outside.

"My parents are always telling me that being a "Goth" is wrong but I don't totally agree

Well, you should understand that “religious” Goths sometimes practice Wicca, an ancient Celtic religion that worships nature. Others are involved in spiritualism, a practice that attempts to communicate with the dead through séances. There are some Goths who cut themselves and others who have a pre-occupation with vampirism. These kinds of activities are strongly spoken against in the Bible and are wrong from a Christian perspective (see Deuteronomy 18:10-14). So, yeah, The Doctor would agree that your parents are right to be concerned because they have a responsibility to protect you from those things, just like we talked about earlier. But again, it really depends a lot on the people who are involved.

"I have a lot of friends that are "Goths". Does that mean that they're bad?"

No, absolutely not. In fact, The Doctor believes that those who belong to the Christian Goth movement would strongly disagree too. The truth is that black fingernail polish, silver jewelry and boots are not as important as where someone is spiritually with Jesus. Remember what God said to Samuel the prophet in 1 Samuel 16:7: “I don’t make decisions the way you do! Men judge by outward appearance, but I look at a man’s thoughts and intentions.”


Do you have a question for The Doctor? Just send it to the email address above- you’ll get a personal reply and you just might see it answered here.