Here is part 2 of this article, originally written by John Piper from a teenager’s perspective. I’ve added the parental “resolves” in [brackets]. Parenting changes as children get older. I know this is an obvious statement, but the actual adjustment in parenting to their maturing minds is much more difficult than the simple statement leads you to believe. To be honest with you, I found it much easier to parent a 5 year old, 8 year old, or 10 year old than I do teenagers. Parenting teenagers requires one to become more like a coach. One who still has authority but releases his children to execute the plays and play the game realizing that they are making more and more decisions in this game. The practices, training, and “drills” require me as a parent to adjust how I involve them in the game “planning.”
I cannot give them directions like they were younger. Now more than ever, I’ve got to coach them up through encouragement, exhortation, and challenges as a coach would his own players realizing that they have to start living out their inward commitments in the game of life. Their development demands this!
We hope to sit down as a family in the next week or two to use this as a discussion tool of what we should resolve in our hearts in order to live out the gospel within our family.
Resolved: I will laugh with the family and not at the family. I will especially laugh when my little brother or sister tells a simple joke with expectant excitement.
[Resolved: I will laugh with my family. I will work to have a home where laughter comes easily.]
Resolved: I will give two compliments for every criticism. And every criticism will aim to help someone improve, not just belittle or cut down.
[Resolved: I will give three compliments for every criticism.]
Resolved: I will enter into family devotions and treat Bible reading and prayer with respect and do my part to help others in the family enjoy them. When I don’t feel spiritually strong, I will pray about this as a personal need rather than pouring it on others as a glass of cold water. I will remember that confessed weakness knits hearts together.
[Resolved: I will lead our family in family devotions. I will regularly pray with you and disciple you to love and follow Christ. I will be patient with your spiritual development as you strive to walk with Christ.]
Resolved: I will not return evil for evil or try to justify my meanness because somebody treated me meanly first.
[Resolved: I will not return evil for evil. I will respond graciously when hurt and be an example of a biblical peacemaker.]
Resolved: I will read my Bible and pray every day even if is only a verse and a brief call for help. I know that teens cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.
[Resolved: I will read my Bible and pray every day knowing that as a parent, I am totally dependent on God’s wisdom and power to guide you. I will love the Lord my God with all my heart.]
Resolved: I will come home at the time we agreed on. If something happens to stop me, I will call and explain and ask your guidance.
[Resolved: I will set appropriate curfews, and will be flexible if the circumstance calls for it. I will listen to your reasons for an extension or adjustment.]
Resolved: I will greet our guests with courtesy and respect and try to make them glad they came.
[Resolved: I will greet your guests with courtesy and respect and try to make them glad they came.]
Resolved: I will always tell the truth so that you can trust me and give me more and more freedom as I get older.
[Resolved: I will give you more and more responsibility and freedom as you mature and demonstrate trustworthiness. I will not parent you like I did when you were younger. I will be like a coach, one who has authority and responsibility for you, but one who not only teaches you, but guides you, and walks alongside you as you increasingly take on manhood or womanhood.]