August 18, 2009

Raising Teens


oy, have I ever been learning some things lately...

I’ve been sharing with my daughters and some of my young friends out of my “keepsake” box. That’s the place where I keep special poems, letters (both to and from friends), notes, and even letters to God. It’s fun to look back and see what I thought like as a teen and young adult, and to marvel at how God was at work in my life.

As I was looking for a particular poem the other day, I ran across this one, which is on a bookmark, and it gives me a sober reminder. It echoes Paul’s warning: Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. (Colossians 3:21 NASB)

What House Do You Live In?

by Badger Leionnare

“I got two A’s,” the small boy cried.
His voice was filled with glee.
His father very bluntly asked,
“Why didn’t you get three?”

“Mom. I’ve got the dishes done!”
The girl called from the door.
Her mother very calmly said,
“And did you sweep the floor?”

“I’ve mowed the grass,” the tall boy said,
“And put the mower away!”
His father asked him, with a shrug.
“Did you clean off the clay?”

The children in the house next door
Seem happy and content.
The same things happened over there,
But this is how it went:

“I got two A’s," the small boy cried,
His voice was filled with glee.
His father proudly said, “That’s great!
I’m glad you live with me!”

“Mom I’ve got the dishes done!
The girl called from the door.
Her mother smiled and softly said.
“Each day I love you more.”

“I’ve mowed the grass.” the tall boy said.
“And put the mower away!”
His father answered with much joy.
“You’ve really made day!”

Children need a little praise
For tasks they’re asked to do.
If they’re to learn to walk upright,
So much depends on you.

Let’s be sure to tell our kids what they are doing right at LEAST as much as we tell them what they are doing wrong. When we tell a child what they are doing right, it gives them clear direction and it motivates them to KEEP ON. But when they try hard to please us and we continually find fault, we send the message that they are a failure, and that they will never measure up. At this point, they finally decide it is not worth the effort anymore. Oh that I would avoid discouraging my children!!

Paul used this method in many of his epistles—he would say the hard things, but he made sure to tell the believers why he was proud of them, too! I want to make a commitment today to use words that "bless and build" rather than words that “sting and kill”—so that my kids will be ENCOURAGED and be motivated to aim higher!

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