Five years ago, when we had three teens and one soon to be, we had been thrust into world of teen clothing, dating/courtship dilemmas, driving, zits, hormones and all that goes along with teens. We struggled in changing our parenting techniques. It was so easy to train little ones. We said, "No touch" and they didn't touch. We said, "Please eat your vegetables" and they ate their vegetables, well, most of the time. It had been a time of training them to obey instantly and without question.
Suddenly, as they aged, the kids needed not just boundaries but reasons for the boundaries. They needed to talk and ask "why" and talk some more. They needed to mature and asking questions wasn't rebellion, it was gaining understanding. They still needed to obey, but their questioning was for clarifying. It was part of the their training in learning to make their own decisions.
They sometimes made decisions we wouldn't have made. Sometimes they had thoughts we wouldn't have thought. Sometimes they wore clothes we wouldn't have worn. That's when we realized we weren't trying to create little Scott and Mindys, we were trying to teach them to conform themselves to the Lord Jesus, using His Word as their guide.
During this time, I received an encouraging letter from Connie, a mother of six children who's youngest was two years older than my firstborn. They walked every stage ahead of us and offered advice along the way. The below quote is an encouraging excerpt:
"They are getting so grown up I hope you are being able to appreciate their individuality and uniqueness. It always scared me as my children got older, to hear them express opinions contrary to my own, but I continued to trust the Lord's workings in their lives and knew that He had unlimited methods to conform each of my children into the image of His Son as they waited on Him. So, I challenged them to discover what the Lord's mind is on issues. And, I also was wise enough to know that my opinion on less critical issues was not necessarily the only or even the right opinion. My desire was that my children's lives would be lived for the glory of God and not for the glory of their mother! The world needs so desperately to see God's glory. Let God be magnified!"
What a great ambition for all of us - to live our lives for the glory of God and to influence others to do the same. That might be our children, kids in our Sunday school, kids in our neighborhood or other adults we are seeking to encourage.
Let God be magnified!