Mention the Lifetime TV network and reality TV shows to me and I’m going to snicker with some skepticism. When it comes to Lifetime, I think of the glut of “Lifetime Movies” remind me more of overly-dramatized soap operas than about anything “real life.” The term “reality TV” increasingly sounds like a lie. Take for example the new “reality” series “Amish Mafia” that is filmed here where I live. There’s nothing real about it. For starters, why would camera-resistant Amish folks agree to be on camera??? Reality TV is now scripted. . . in painfully obvious ways.
Still, I’m wondering if Lifetime’s new reality series, “Teen Trouble” (premiering tonight at 10pm est), might be worth watching. We’ll find out. The series follows someone who knows firsthand about a troubled adolescence – Josh Shipp – as he “embeds” himself in the life of a troubled teen in order to steer the troubled teen in the right direction.
As I look forward to “Teen Trouble” with the hope that it will offer something positive in what has become a pretty grim TV lineup, I want to encourage you to give it a look with an open mind and some level of positive expectation. A show like this could benefit us all. Here are some questions to consider as we evaluate just how real, positive and beneficial “Teen Trouble” might be:
-Does the show realistically depict what life is like for today’s adolescents?
-Does the show overstate teen issues and problems as a ploy to draw in viewers? Or, is the show balanced?
-What standards are used when value judgments on right, wrong, good and evil are made?
-What role does Christian spirituality and biblical truth (overt, covert, direct, indirect, stated, assumed) play in the solutions offered to troubled teens and their families?
-What worldview is foundational to the show? (Christian? Humanistic? Naturalistic? etc.).
-What truths about the human condition, evil, good, and redemption are evidenced in the show?
-How can we use the show to spark discussions with the kids we know and love?
-How could we use the show in our youth ministries? Homes?
Look. . . life isn’t getting any easier for our kids. That’s why I’m hoping that “Teen Trouble” opens doors to address, talk about, face, and solve these problems in ways that bring honor and glory to God. Will we be pleased or disappointed? I guess we’ll find out.