"...the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out." John 10:3
We had the honor of attending a great conference on parenting teens by author and speaker Jeff Schadt. I'd like to share some insights we learned....
Lead from the Front
Someone who guides and leads others by telling them what to do.
To show the way to others, usually by going ahead of them.
So many voices are trying to lead our teens today.
The world trains our teens to "act" like someone else. To please people.
Think about it.
What toys did you play with as a child?
baby dolls...so little girls can act like mommies
Barbie dolls...so little girls can act like women
Tonka trucks....so boys can act like construction workers
Soldiers....so boys can act like soldiers
Firetrucks...so boys can act like firefighters
Then the world trains our teens to "act" like adults:
TV... Movies... Music... Magazines...
|How old do you think this model is? 15 years old.....|
We see young girls on VH1 or MTV acting like grown women. Some women even dress their 3 yr old girls like adult women to win a beauty pagent.
We tell our kids to "act" a certain way.
Be this tall
Be this thin
Be this beautiful
Be this talented
Have this hair
Wear this product
Have clear skin
Drive this car
Eat this food
Listen to this music
Watch this show
...and churches aren't any better. We tell our teens to:
No secular music
Always be positive
Always be happy
Always be in a good mood
Learn your Bible
Share your faith
Don't be in the world
Go to church
Go to youth group
Be devoted to God
Have all the right answers
Get along with everyone
....and most important: Just be yourself!
Is it any wonder our teens are petrified of failure? When they fall, they have so much fear that we will know their secret:
They aren't perfect after all.
A Safe Place
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." 1 John 4:18
Our job is to train our teens to please God.
We are to prepare our kids for when they fall....not if they fall, but when.
You and I fell. And you and I are forgiven.
We must prepare our teens for the world they face. No, we cannot always be there to prevent the hurts and failures, but we can be there to listen and be that safe place for them to fall.
As our kids get older, our roles change.
We go from having total control...to little control.
We go from having that controlling voice...to having that mentoring voice that guides and advises and prepares our teens for life in this world.
The Bible is full of failures. Men and women who fell.
But that's the good news! God used failures to change the world. God used failures to show us His love and mercy in that while we were yet sinners....Christ died for us!
God uses us despite our failures. Jesus showed His disciples how to please God. He rose early to pray...He didn't command His disciples to rise early to pray. No.
He showed them. He led from the front. Then His disciples came to Him and asked Him to teach them to pray.
So when your teen fails, focus on your teen's response rather than the failure. Did he repent? Did she confess? Praise God!
That means the Holy Spirit is at work in them.
Failure provides an opportunity for YOU to shepherd...to lead from the front.
Pray for them
Set your role in your teen's life as that mentor and guide.
If you don't do this...some other person will. And you may not like who that person is!
The Lord has provided us with an awesome opportunity to influence our kids. But we only have the opportunity for a short window of time.
Take time today to be that person of influence in your son or daughter's life.
Shepherd them through their successes and failures.
Be that person of influence in your teen's life. Today. Before they are gone....