Svenska kyrkan

Status, relationships and future crucial for 14-year-olds

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What will happen if Donald Trump becomes US president? What will I be in the future? Who is actually a real friend? These are some of the questions that today’s 14-year-olds are asking themselves, according to a new report drafted by Ungdomsbarometern and anthropologist Katarina Graffman on behalf of the Church of Sweden.

The "Ungdomsbarometern" (youth barometer) has investigated on behalf of the Church of Sweden what 14-year-olds in Sweden think about. The results are now being presented in the report “Unga tankar 2016” (Young thoughts 2016).
 

The report “Unga tankar 2016”, which is based on in-depth interviews and survey questions, investigates and surveys what 14-year-olds in Sweden think about – the issues that occupy their time. The report is conceived to simultaneously function as a basis for discussion for all those young people who each year discuss life’s issues, big and small, in the Church of Sweden’s confirmation groups.

The report shows that above all four topics are particularly important to 14-year-olds – future, status, friendship and trust. Existential topics such as the meaning of life and what happens after we die are also among the 15 most common questions.

“What will I be in the future?” is the question that 14-year-olds wonder about the most.. Having a meaningful and enjoyable profession is of great significance. But also questions about status such as “How can I get a job that is fun and well-paid?” and “How do I get rich?” are among the five most common thoughts, more common than topics such as the environment and the surrounding world.

“The age of 14 marks the transition between childhood and adulthood. Young people start to think further than the summer holidays and ponder their career choices,” says Anna Lundgren, priest and confirmation leader in the Church of Sweden.

Another key area is friendship and trust. Around a quarter of all 14-year-olds ask themselves each day questions such as “Who can I trust?”, “Who is actually a real friend?” and “Can I always be myself?”

“These are questions for which the answer cannot be googled. Nor do some of the questions perhaps come up in regular conversations with friends or at home. In these cases, confirmation is a place where you can meet people who can help you formulate your thoughts and feelings, get to know yourself and understand how other people think,” says Anna Lundgren.

About confirmation
Each year around 30,000 14-year-olds are confirmed in the parishes of the Church of Sweden. The life experience and thoughts of each confirmation candidate take centre stage. During confirmation the young people discuss life’s issues, big and small, with their peers and elders and get to grips with what they think themselves. Baptism is not necessary to join a confirmation group. During the confirmation period there are opportunities for discussions about life and for acquiring knowledge about the Christian faith and its values.

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