The fact that depression is one of the leading causes of death among young adults should not be a surprise. Depression falls under the dubious category of mental illness. It's hard to characterize mental illness, most of the time there is little if any quantitative evidence. It’s a little like saying alcoholism is a disease, but its the consumption of the alcohol that causes the dysfunction. Which came first the chicken or the egg? Generally, depression is treated with mind-numbing drugs or talk therapy. Mental illness is blamed for most of the mass murders we have become accustomed to. But, no one has been able to figure out how they relate or what to do about it. A recent Pew Research survey revealed that 70 percent of teens believe anxiety and depression are critical issues among peers even more than bullying or drug and alcohol use. Since suicide is the second leading cause of death among young adults it should be the number one concern for parents, teachers and family members. It has long been a suspicion that virtual reality is responsible for many disconnected young people. It's hard to stay relevant in make-believe worlds.
Another expression for staying relevant is being productive. To be productive, one must interact with their environment in some way. Recent studies have shown that schoolers who participate in extracurricular activities like sports or debate are more likely to be successful when confronting the true reality of adulthood. The same can be said for senior citizens who remain productive, they live longer, happier lives. So, how does one stay relevant? Recognizing the need of others and then meeting that need as best you can, whether it be family, friend or stranger is the greatest cause a person can aspire to. Being kind is easy and liberating, in fact, it’s the “Golden Rule”.“Do for others what you would want them to do for you.” (Matt.7:12) Notice, you don’t need a special skill to be relevant, you need only to be sensitive and care for others. The best thing a parent can do for there pre-schooler to ensure a relevant life is to teach them proven biblical principals. The second best thing a parent can teach their children is that cell phones are for emergency only.
To find a relevant cause and pursue it daily will guarantee a liberating life. If you are at loss for a cause Jesus had a good suggestion. “He said to them, “Go everywhere in the world. Tell the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15) Just go tell someone about Jesus, you may be surprised how far it goes and how productive you feel. For more about staying relevant read “Beam me up Commander” it's free.