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My visit to the land of teenagers

In this column I offer a completely unscientific set of impressions about characteristics of today’s teenagers. It is based on a weeklong immersion experience with my Decatur, Ga., church’s youth group, currently on retreat together in rainy Panama City, Fla. I welcome reader feedback on this one.

Think about this amazing thought: just about everybody in the group was born in the 21st century. If kids are 16 today, they were born in 2001! So they have no memory of 9/11. Even the financial crash of 2007-2008 occurred when most were too young to be aware of it. I wonder how much their consciousness has been shaped by historical events at all.

What they mainly seem to be shaped by is an encyclopedic knowledge of contemporary music and online reality. In the six-hour van ride south, I was struck by how pretty much every kid knew every word of every song that


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