Here is the article I wrote for our youth group’s/church’s monthly newsletter:
Article for Bulletin: February
This year our theme is “relationships.” Bob Bryant always says, “Life is relationships.” How true. Relationships are multi-dimensional, for instance God-man, man-God,man-man. In addition to the multi-dimensionality of relationships, relationships can be messy. We all know people who have experienced fractured relationships with a spouse, a friend, a peer and even God. Relationships are also a blessing. We’ve all experienced the positives of good relationships. I want to zero in here for the time we have left on parent-teen relationships. Parents have a huge responsibility to raise and mentor their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Parents of teens are in a different stage of parenting then say, parents of toddlers. While there are some similarities, for instance, children of all ages, need their basic needs met, Teen parents are in a special class. Parents of teenagers deserve applause for dealing with the sometime volatile, always hungry, sometimes distant adolescents that once were the cute and cuddly toddlers that wanted to be with you everywhere you went.
Adjusting to the turmoil of the adolescent years can be difficult, confusing and rewarding. That’s right, rewarding. Some of the current research out there in the realm of adolescent sociology suggests that the most significant relationships in the lives of teenagers is their relationship with their parents. Parents, I know sometimes you feel under appreciated, but stick in there. Look for ways to connect with your teens. Spend time talking to them. Find out who their friends are, listen to their music, read their myspace, their xanga, become a student yourself of teen culture. The adolescent years are a time of transition, and one of the things teens need is the chance to have more and more responsibility, leading to more and more independence. Letting your kids grow up is no easy endeavor, but God created us to grow, to change and become adults ourselves. So, parents hang in there and above all, your biggest ministry impact you will have will be on your family. The ministry of presence is one of the most important. I will be praying for your family and in the mean time, keep praying and keep reading!
–>In youth work and work with families over the last three and half years I am noticing that a few parents really know their kids. These parents have made it their business to know their kids business. This of course comes at a risk, and is most certainly a messy endeavor. But, in order to mend the “abandonedness” that mid to late adolescents feel (see Chap Clark’s book, Hurt, for more detail here) parents need to get to know their kids.