As we are on the precipice of a new year, its a good time to reevaluate our priorities, renew and strengthen the things that remain, and resolve(d)…in the past tense. In other words, our minds are made up. Its decided. Its not something we intend to do, but it is a settled mindset trusting in the strength of the Lord to supply the power and grace as we live out those resolves. This is crucial as it pertains to parenting…especially parenting teenagers.
John Piper wrote “Teenage Resolutions: For Mom and Dad” back in 1993 dealing with a teenager’s resolve for Mom and Dad. As I read it, I thought “Wow! This would be great to read to my three teenage children, because they NEED this!” And then I got to thinking, but what about me as a Dad. Instead of handing down this wise “edict” for them to apply, I began to evaluate my own resolve as a parent. What should our teenage children expect from us, as parents? Not just parents, but parents that claim the Name of Jesus as Lord.
So! I will add my own resolves [in brackets] to parallel John Piper’s. Not that his is lacking, but I need to do so as a way of making sure I parent as the Lord desires. This is a bit of a work in progress, so I would love to hear your comments. What would you say as a parental resolve to your children?
My plan is to sit down with our family and use this as a tool to discuss our commitment to one another, and ultimately to our Lord Jesus, who calls our family to live in faith in Him and His Word.
Due to the length, I will break this up over two blogs; one this week and one next. I’d love to hear your feedback on these resolves.
Resolved: I will obey your instructions and do what I know you expect of me, even when it is not mentioned. I will not force you into repeated reminders, which I sometimes call nagging.
[Resolved: I will make my instructions clear, and will refrain from impatient promptings when not obeyed immediately, and will not nag or repeat myself. I will deal with the issues of your heart, not simply behaviors.]
Resolved: I will not grumble or complain when I do my chores, but remember what a great thing it is to have a family and a home and clothes and food and running water and electric light and central heating in a world where millions of teenagers have none of these.
[Resolved: I will not grumble or complain when completing parenting responsibilities. I will express my gratitude to you remembering what a wonderful gift you are from the Lord.]
Resolved: When I think your demands are unfair, I will move to do them first, and after showing an obedient attitude, I will ask if we can talk. Then I will explain my side and try to understand yours.
[Resolved: I will patiently listen to your appeals with a desire for understanding, and will correct my demand if wrong.]
Resolved: I will not stonewall you and give you the silent treatment, which I dislike when my friends do it to me. If I am depressed and want to be left alone, I will say, “I’m sorry, I don’t feel like talking right now. Can we talk later? I’m not mad; I just need to be alone.”
[Resolved: I will respect your feelings and give you the necessary time that you need. I will not attempt to lecture or pressure you, but will be available to you to listen, guide, and pray with you.]
Resolved: When I do something wrong and let you down, I will apologize sincerely with words that you can hear. Something like: “Mom, I’m sorry, I didn’t pick up the pile of clothes.”
[Resolved: I will forgive you and give you the grace that God gives me when I fail. I will also apologize sincerely with words that you can hear when I fail as a parent.]
Resolved: I will call you by affectionate family titles, like “mommy” or “daddy”, or “mom” or “dad”. And I won’t let other kids pressure me into calling you nothing, or calling you something disrespectful as though true affection were embarrassing or childish.
[Resolved: I will express affection and treat you in ways that will not embarrass you in front of your friends. I will speak and act in ways that show your worth and respect in front of your friends. I will treat you as a young man or woman growing into adulthood.]
Resolved: I will say thank you again and again for the ordinary things you do for me. I will not take them for granted as though you were my slave.
[Resolved: I will say thank you again and again for the ordinary things you do for me and our family. I will not take them for granted as though you were my slave.]
Resolved: I will talk about my feelings. Both the positive ones (like happiness, pity, excitement, sympathy, etc.) and the negative ones (like anger, fear, grief, loneliness, discouragement, etc.). I will remember that unshared feelings lead to estrangement and coldness and even more loneliness and discouragement.
[Resolved: I will make our home atmosphere one where you feel free to talk about your feelings, both positive and negative. I will not minimize your feelings. I will take them seriously and help you work through those feelings biblically.]