Are you filled with feelings of inadequacy and doubts about yourself to help your teen grow his/her faith?
Do you find yourself jealous of your teen’s relationship to his/her small group leader?
Do you spend some nights praying frantically before you fall asleep worried that your teen is making some wrong decisions and may walk away from his/her faith?
When you imagine your teen at college, are you already filled with fear?
Your heart’s desire is to raise a “resilient disciple.” This is a term used in a research report to describe someone who takes their childhood faith into adulthood. Someone’s who’s faith is resilient to all of the bumps of growing up. This is who you want your own teen to be.
This research from Barna Group found that “resilient disciples” have these dimensions as a part of their lives:
83% say they have “at least one close friend I trust with my secrets.”
81% say “when growing up, I had close personal friends who were adults.”
77% say “I have someone in my life, other than family, who I can go to for advice on personal issues.”
Does your teen have people in these groupings now? Who are those people? How many of those people are in your church or your faith circles? If you can name these people, you have given your teen an incredible gift.
More high percentages from this research:
67% say “my friends help me be a better person.”
66% say “I have friends and family who are honest with me about my weaknesses.”
65% say “I feel valued by people in my life who are older than me.”
60% say “I welcome positive criticism from those who are older than me.”
Once again you can see the importance of the others who surround your teen. Does this inspire you to set up your teen to have older Christians speak into his/her life? Maybe even the same one who speaks into your life?
All of this insight is a good reason to get your teen to church. Into a good youth group, yes, but also a church. Your teen desires these intergenerational relationships whether he/she realizes it or not. These intergenerational relationships are identity formers.
More high percentages from those “resilient disciples” who go to church:
83% say they feel “loved and valued.”
76% say they feel “like I am a part of a family.”
63% say they feel “relief from the anxiety of daily life.”
Doesn’t that warm your parent heart? Do you see how valuable it is to give your teen others?
This is not about you not being enough. This is not about a fear of any family secret being revealed. This is not about you being a bad parent. This is not about you being replaced, because you will always be the number one voice in his/her head. This is about your teen growing beautifully; growing his/her faith into adulthood; and your teen’s faith shaping the world.
Consider this beautiful story.
From a beautiful story book about the things we say, the author told this story about a dream her friend had. A friend who was dying of cancer and wondering if her loaves and fishes were enough. She was near the end and was leaving three children.
“We are all in this place. All the mothers who had to leave early.
“It’s huge, big as an airplane hangar, and there are all these seats, rows and rows, set up on a glass floor, so all the moms can look down and watch their kids live out their futures. There’s one rule: you can watch as much and as long as you want, but you can only intervene once.
So I sat down. And I watched. I watched them out back by the pool, swimming with Andy, napping on a towel. I watched them on the jungle gym, walking Lambchop, reading their Lemony Snicket books. I watched Margo taking a wrong turn or forgetting her homework. I watched Dru ignoring his coach. I watched Gwennie logging her feelings in a journal. And every time I went to intervene, to warn one of the kids about something or just pick them up to hold them, a more experienced mother leaned across and stopped me. Not now. He’ll figure it out. She’ll come around. And it went on and on like that and in the end, she said, smiling with wet eyes, I never needed to use my interventions.” —Tell Me More, Kelly Corrigan, pp. 188-189
By giving your teen these others, you won’t need to use your interventions. You are parenting well. What a gift you are giving. This is the gift of people.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.