"Honor Thy Mother And Thy Father" Takes On New Meaning For Some Teens

The Catholic church wants to breathe new life into its ministry by reaching out to its young people. Church leaders say that's why a program called Life Teen is being adopted at churches across the country.

Life Teen is a series of weekly meetings where teenagers address issues like morality, alcohol, and premarital sex. Teens at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Oceans Springs got interesting lesson on the Fourth Commandment on Sunday. It says to honor thy mother and thy father. To drive the message home, leaders had teams act out the roles of parents and spoiled children.

"They see it more. They feel it more," youth minister Greg Van Acker said. "It becomes alive for them instead of someone just preaching to them. They're in classrooms all day long, and they hear teachers just saying things. They need to be able to live it."

Teens chosen to portray Moms and Dads had to try to get through a meal and keep the peace. For some teens walking in the shoes of parents is more than they can take.

"It's horrible. They're so mean to me. They won't do anything I say," Leah Gaines said.  "Be nice to your parents cause they're really stressed out."

Joann Pisciottano said she "can definitely see where they're coming from when they're trying to calm us down when we are having an argument."

Even the teenagers who get to act like teenagers say the exercise made them reflect on their own behavior at home.

Amanda Stout  played a brat. "It makes me see how much stress it puts on the family cause where like uh," Stout said. "I wouldn't' want me because I'm annoying."

Church leaders say Life Teen programs are active in about 800 parishes across the United States and Canada.

By Danielle Thomas