American teenagers apparently have a lot of money to spend. And what people spend money on tells us a lot about their priorities. Your generation is the first to leave a clear digital footprint about the material items it values. Let’s take a look at some of the things teenagers find important.
Watch the following video with your class and then discuss the questions that follow [4:37]:
“Stupid Things Teenagers Spend Their Money On”
- $40 billion dollars is a huge amount. Did any of the purchase data surprise you? (Answers will vary. An interest in home ownership and cooking at home might be somewhat surprising.)
- Most of the purchases mentioned involve pleasure-seeking or temporary enjoyment. Can you name some of them? (Coffee drinks, movies, video games, entertainment are some of the categories.)
- How would you define the word “idol”? Could any of these things be placed in the category of “idolatry”? (An idol is an “object of worship” or any person or thing that is greatly admired or revered. Given this definition, it seems clear that anything we obsess over or put higher than God can become an idol.)
- Why is it so easy to place more emphasis on material possessions or celebrity endorsements than things with lasting value? (Material possessions feel concrete and provide immediate gratification; spiritual values are abstract and harder to quantify. Also, teen identity and acceptance is often wrapped in activities, clothing, and appearance.)
It’s not a sin to own an electronic gadget or buy a frappuccino. But God does want us to focus our spiritual worship on Him alone. We’ll discover today that idolatry transcends time and place. It seems to be built into the human condition.