Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It Takes a Village (idiot) to Raise a Teenager

I have always taken a lot of pride in raising my children.  I haven't worked full-time in 17 years in an effort to give them all the attention they needed, teach them and train them in the ways of the Lord, and provide a healthy stable environment.  As a result, they all read at an early age, were A honor roll students, recited the Westminster catechism with ease and would pray for your salvation at the drop of a dime. I had achieved ultimate parenting perfection.  It was a matter of time before I would take over the world!!  As my evil plan to achieve world domination continued, I made sure my children didn't mix with your B level student, form a relationship with your wayward child, or be seen in public acting "unsavory." 


Then I woke up.  My perfect children began to warp into a legendary species I had only heard of from those who had gone before me...TEENAGERS!!!  I quickly noticed the sweet smell of Johnson's baby products giving way to the distinct aroma of day old sweat socks. I was no longer invited to honors day, and I began to feel a need to slip the "sinners prayer" into the daily devotion...you know, just in case!

I struggled to reconcile all of my "name it and claim it" sermons with my reality.  The countless number of "raise perfect kids" books were now worthless.  I pieced together ideas and suggestions from various experts and gurus to no avail.  I had become the village idiot.  I was outnumbered, overwhelmed and out smarted.  Technology, peer pressure, and the good old American way (narcissism) had replaced me as the source of my children's knowledge base.

Keep Your Cool

So what do you do when you wake up and find yourself on the outside looking in?  How do you regain respect?  You have to go back to the basics.  The word of God is always the answer.  Don't lose your sanity trying to be a detective investigating your children's activities, or lose sleep worrying about the decisions they make. Don't compromise your standards or sacrifice your household trying to please your child.  Take authority in your position as a parent. Study the scriptures pertaining to parenting and wait on God to change your situation.

Tough Love

On occasion, the situation requires "tough love." Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.  He is the ultimate authority.  When our children no longer submit to the Earthly authority assigned to them, we must look to our Creator for discipline.  Sometimes the process is hard to watch.  We hate to see our children suffer, but God's eternal love for them far exceeds our Earthly ability to love them. "For whom the Lord loves he chastens (vs. 6)..." The result? "...the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (vs. 11)." Being chastened (corrected) by the Lord restores our ability to stand before him without guilt or shame.

Commend Them to God

In Acts 20:32, after teaching and training the church at Ephesus, Paul leaves them the sole  responsibility of what they had  been taught: "I commend you to God...."  Commend your children to God. If you have taught and trained your children to the best of your ability, if you have asked the Lord for direction, if you have sought the wisdom and counsel of professionals and the elders, and that child chooses rebellion,commend him to God.  It is no longer your responsibility, but the responsibility of your child to make wise decisions concerning his or her life.  The mistakes and poor decisions of your child is no longer a reflection of you as a parent.  The responsibility rests on that child as an individual.  Remember that our children belong to God.  He made them, and he loves them more than we ever can.

That's how I was razed....

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