What happened to those calm, evening bubble baths with toys? My little boys have suddenly turned into little men, demanding I-must-have-a-shower-in-the-morning-so-my-hair-will-be-perfect. Forget the challenges of geometry class or research papers, the battle for who gets to shower first in the morning is concern number one this school year.
However, order and relationship restored by force is no order, no relationship at all. Instead, it results in destruction, distance, and harder hearts, especially with our teens.
Deep in my gut I know that the days of simple training are over. Now it's game on. My son against the press of the world's defense, and he is battling his way down the court armed with the truth we have given him. I have become a coach, encouraging, exhorting, correcting his use of the skills he has already been taught and must now learn how to use wisely.
Somehow, I must now pass on the responsibility for heart-search to this young man. He must take on the role which I have so long performed for him, guiding him, that art of bringing one’s heart to God and allowing Him to change it.
Parenting me so I could parent my son.
I just shut up.
We cannot convict or change the hearts of our children. We can certainly train them, influence them, encourage, and strengthen them. But we cannot take a heart hardened by rebellion and make it soft. We cannot create a self-controlled heart nor a listening spirit. Just look into the defiant eyes of your teenager the next time she or he challenges your authority and you will realize how powerless over the heart you really are.
Stepping back for a moment, silencing our emotions, listening for God’s instruction, will change us. And we will be able to wait for the change in our child that only God can bring. This practice is relevant for every parent, no matter where he or she is on the journey of personal faith or parenting.
Have you a tale of conflict resolved like the Peace Pickle? I would so love to hear it in the comments section below.
The only heart we can really control, parents, is our own. (Click to Tweet)
Teens aren't the only ones changing. Our parenting needs to change with them. (Click to Tweet)