“Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes, but know that God will judge your motives and actions.”
“So remember your Creator in the days of your youth–before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them.”
A mantra spoken often in our culture is that teens think they know it all. And while there is surely a grain of truth in this statement, a step back reveals that it is a blossoming seed coming to fruition of the investment of earlier days.
It is sheer delight seeing the wonder in a child learning something new about the world around us. Watching that wonder grow over time into fascination and a depth of wisdom and knowledge is even more amazing to see. Such is the privilege of being a parent.
The quest I have held closely to in 21 years of parenting is an earnest desire to nurture a love of wisdom, fear of the LORD and a sincere love of the LORD in each of my children’s hearts. Words cannot convey how wonderful it is to see them seeking after God and seeking to walk in His ways in a troubled generation.
The world around us insists that teens have to indulge in the flesh, sass their parents, live for self and rebel. That is not what Scripture says.
Subcultures within Christianity can also have fads and recommendations of what convictions we should hold to in order to have godly children. While there is wise counsel often given by various authors and ministries, it becomes religiosity if we hold to methods and an external approach more than an internal commitment focusing on character.
We did not have television or electronics for most of my children’s childhood. Then we did. We learned lessons and how to grapple with this world around us and seek to impact the world rather than just avoid it. We also utilize social media with age limits, are accountable and seek to use it for the glory of God.
I hesitate to share the parameters we set because everyone’s personal convictions vary widely and each one needs to honor God with the boundaries they have for their household. Creating a center of wisdom through the provision of devotionals, worship music and a Christian education helped lay a foundation of providing a biblical lens in all that my children face.
Paramount above all is the voice within reminding us that “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD”. We go through seasons in which we recognize the world creeping in and have to take actions to “clean house”, but such revelations are a gift from God and part of walking in relationship with Him. More than rules is an understanding why we have such boundaries.
Giving space little by little for children to make their own successes and failures is frightening, but also a tool for them to learn from. Encouraging them to pray for wisdom themselves will be their key to a faithful walk with God if they dare to ask.
Trying to find a magic bullet or set of rules will not produce the youth God is looking for, but fostering, living it our ourselves and creating an environment which encourages a love for God’s word and provokes living an honest life before our Maker is fundamental.
Instead of buying into the propaganda which makes excuses for folly in youth and wastes the days of youth, we can spur the next generation onto greatness. There is a joy that comes from being accountable and living life through a biblical lens that no frivolous childhood could ever compare to.
Dispensing away with lies that say being godly is not fun and debunking the fear that says we cannot be in the world yet not of it, we can raise our children to have freedom within boundaries, genuine “wise guys”, guided by wisdom and the fear of the LORD.
Lord, it is a humbling, overwhelming task to raise children for You and for Your glory. Please enable us to live a radical life for You that is infectious and attractive so the future generation will see the joy of the LORD in our faces, which far surpasses worldly pleasures.