Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Age of Opportunity
Age of Opportunity.......what does that phrase conjure up in your mind?? If you have a teenager does it remind you of them??? If you would have asked me that question just two weeks ago, I would have chuckled and said that I am just trying to make it through these crazy teens!!
Don't get me wrong........Landon, my 14 year old is a wonderful young man. He is well behaved, mannerly and very handsome too!! BUT, the mood swings, the hormones, the messy room, the grunts and groans, the eye rolling, and the smart mouth does get to be a bit much at times. Our relationship is good, but at times I almost feel as if we are enemies. I love him with all of my heart and soul, but can't stand his behavior at times!! I have always known that God probably wouldn't want it to be this way, but what can I do??? I pray, I lecture, I complain, I discuss with other mothers and mentors, etc, etc, etc... Was I doomed to be the nagger with Landon as the nagee??
God is so good and His timing is ALWAYS perfect. Last year, Dan and I were participants in a wonderful class at our church called Raising Teens. We loved the class and learned so much. Once the 10 week class ended, we had made many friends and wanted to continue meeting. Believe it or not, every couple in the class committed to getting together once a week, studying the bible and how to apply it to our teens' lives. Since last October, we all have been doing just that........meeting once a week and really digging into understanding our teens. We shared together and prayed for each other and our children. Our study in the spring was Running the Rapids and was very helpful in comprehending why our teens act the way that they do at times. BUT, this fall we began a book entitled Age of Opportunity.....A biblical guide to parenting teens......in two weeks I am already changing the way that I think and the way that I deal with Landon. It is amazing what I am seeing!!
This study begins with understanding a basic but difficult fact......anything that occurs during the teen years is NOT too much for our God to handle. They are not unreachable and we as parents need to completely embrace that the power of the gospel is something that can never be stopped. God is sovereign and rules over everyone and everything. He is in control. We as parents have been recruited by Him to be a Godly example to our children and teach them the way that God has taught us through His word and our experiences. The teen years expose the wrong thoughts and desires of our own hearts. They tend to bring out the worst in us.
I totally cringe when I think of some of the things that I have said to my children in anger and frustration. Even though I always apologize and admit to my wrongdoing, I have guilt about flying off of the handle. No words that I have said can be put back into my mouth. UGH!!! So, this leaves me to examine myself very closely and pray about God helping me to become the parent that He designed me to be. I can't do it alone.
I learned last week that I have idols.......not ones that our world tends to think of; movie stars, athletes, desires for material things,climbing the corporate ladder, but idols that distort how I view parenting and that tend to control my heart more than God himself. My two biggest idols are appreciation and comfort. I so want Landon and Dalton to appreciate all that we do for them. But, I want them to say it and live it......is this feasible?? In my world it is, it has to be my way!! I want them to always say thank you and verbalize how thankful they are to have what they do, and thank us for taking them on vacation, and thank me for doing their laundry, making their beds, cleaning their rooms, packing their lunches, driving them all over town...........you get the picture. But, how many teens do you know that get off of the bus, enter your home and say, "Boy mom, I was just thinking on the bus how thankful I am for you and Dad and all of the sacrifices that you make for me. I am so appreciative and I love you so much. What can I do for you today???" Are you laughing yet?? I know that teens are biologically filled with self orientation and self interest much more than with appreciation for others at this point in their lives.
I need to ask myself, " Why do I do what I do?? Whom am I serving?" I must stop thinking with the " I serve you, you appreciate me" attitude. If this is all that I am looking for, then I am going to miss out on wonderful opportunities to love, grow and connect with Landon emotionally and spiritually. I need to take these opportunities and gently point Landon to Him who provides every good and perfect gift and let go of the anger that I feel as if Landon is doing this personally to me.
My other idol is comfort. Life is not a resort, but boy I wish that it was....things would be so much easier!! Don't we as parents have the right to quiet, harmony, peace and respect?? When we don't get this, how do we respond?? Well, if you act like I do at times, I get angry and impatient. Again, embracing the moments and looking to Him for strength, words and guidance is the only way to fill my heart with His love and joy and not my expectations which always fall very short.
My goal for Landon and Dalton is for them to be kind, loving, peaceful, patient, self controlled and full of joy regardless of situations in their lives. These are fruits of the spirit which I can model with only God's grace. Once I acknowledge that their teen years are all about molding them to God's image and not my own which is sinful, then the opportunites will be there. I am seeing this already and can't wait to see how God continues to work through me to reach my children. My job as a mother is truly the highest calling that I can have.