Friday, February 24, 2017

Living with Teenagers!


First, I must say, I love my family. I would die for any of them. They are the greatest gift that God has given me. They are the best gift I could ever get in this life.

However, great gifts don't always come without great difficulty. Our family dynamics are vast, interesting and intentional. Yes. I said, intentional.

God gives us everything, including our family members, in our lives that will be used to shape and mold us into Christ-likeness. He does this because He is a good Father. He has a foreknowing of what we need to stop being brats. He knows what it will take in our lives to cause us to lay down our lives freely, like Jesus. Then with the laying down of life comes real resurrection power and the life we were meant to live.

Jesus gave us the example and did not leave us alone to navigate the here and now. In fact, if we are found in Him, He lives in us! How amazing is that?!

Now with that said, I have to come clean about my attitude about teens. I love teens. I loved working with that age group before I have my own teens. It was my absolute favorite age group to work with. I mean, these are younger image bearers who are figuring out how they want to live their lives. It is awkward and messy and weird at times. It is frustrating at times but powerfully beautiful seeing them overcome the many obstacles of life in their generation. It is definitely an interesting and exciting time of life.

Yet, as much as I love working with teens, it is an entirely different thing when you live with teens. The full "24/7 in each others space" pressure that pushes the sinfulness out of our hearts kind of real is what we get in this phase of life. It is raw and rough at times. Think toddler hood, round 2. Except now these precious growing humans have an ability to freely express their minds.

Though, life is messy now, I love it. We have a great ability to reason with our teens that we didn't get when working with toddlers. Now, they are able to really understand the why to our rules. Also, we get to move more into a coaching role as we let them have more freedom and make more decisions on their own under our safe space.

However, while these precious ones are blooming into adulthood, most of us have aging parents to also think about. That adds more pressure to this stage of middle age. It really exposes you for who you are. You can chose to embrace it, repent, and rely on gospel grace or be grumbling and miserable. God is really shaping and molding us as these challenges come our way.

I don't like the typical teenager they cast for roles on television shows. I think they get it wrong. Teens don't hate their parents. They truly don't. They do crave attention and direction. They will seek this out wherever they are accepted and can find it. We can offer this in the home to them. If we don't then they will become distant. They need you now more than ever.

Think of it this way, they are seeing things in this world for the first time in a new lens. Part of growing up is figuring out who you are, what you want to do with your life, and who you are without your parents. This is incredibly stressful. It is a time of searching and introspection. We have the opportunity to influence that. We have the responsibility to help them grow into the people that God would have them be. Not who we want them to be but who God made them to be.

What is your biggest challenge with your teens? Or what have you observed and stereotyped? How can you help this next rising generation? What are your fears? What are you joys in this stage?


rlo said...

Teenagers scare me! Mine are still very young, so hopefully when we get there they'll be great teens!! :)

Rebekah Hargraves said...

This is so encouraging to me as a mom of just a baby and toddler! I do look forward at least to being able to reason with them more at that age! haha

Lauren C. Moye said...

I've often felt like teenagers are not given enough credit for kindness and selflessness. They often have big and generous desires, but aren't properly equipped to act on those desires. Or, they get distracted by all the bad habits and peer pressure that they often have no way to escape from.

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