Parenting is hands down the most difficult job in the world. You don’t get days off; you don’t receive pay raises; you don’t get sick days; and you’re never off the clock. If there were a parenting union, I think we’d be tempted to strike at times.
While these statements are true, what if we looked at parenting from a different perspective? Paul had every reason to be frustrated. He was preaching the Gospel, making disciples, and having a major impact on society. Yet, Paul got imprisoned for preaching the very message of spiritual freedom. His ministry, his message, and his audience seemed to disappear. He was even chained to guards in the prison. While I would have been depressed that I was chained to guards, Paul had a completely different perspective. He believed the guards were actually chained to him. Talk about a captive audience!
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Do you have a troubled teen at home? Are you frustrated with the choices they are making.? Does every conversation seem like a battle of your life experience and wisdom versus their will?
What if you changed your view of a major obstacle into a view of a major opportunity of working with your child? Is raising teenagers difficult? Absolutely! But some of the most rewarding things in life include the most difficult processes to get there. Without going into detail, I think we can all agree that new born babies are super cute and worth having, but NO ONE would ever say the process to get there was easy. While the labor pains of raising a teenager can last for years (not nine months), raising teenagers is always worth it in the end!
Instead of being “chained” to your child through life’s difficult challenges, what if you became grateful for the fact that your child is still “chained” to you? Paul made the most of every opportunity, taking time in prison to encourage other believers, share the Gospel with the entire imperial guard, and to write letters that we now have in the Bible! How are you making the most of every moment with your teenager? Did you ever stop to think that how you handle a tough situation now might shape your the next twenty years of his or her life? You might be tempted to pull away from your child during a time of rebellion. Instead, lean into your child’s life, make known you’re not going anywhere, and work through whatever situation they’ve managed to get themselves into. God will honor that. God will use that in your life and in the life of your child.
Here are a few helpful phrases:
- “Help me understand…”
- “How did that make you feel?”
- “What do you think God thinks of _______”
- “If you were me, what would YOU tell you?”
- “Where do you want to be in five years? How does ______ help you get there?”
Be encouraged today! God might be using your most difficult conversation with your child to bring about the biggest life transformation. If your teens are still in your household, God must have a plan for both you and your child. Change perspective, don’t get frustrated, lean into your child with love, and pray for God’s guidance.
High School Pastor
North Ridge Community Church