Monday, December 12, 2005

Age of Opportunity



Sometimes don't you think that "teenager" is a four-letter word? Actually it is TWO four-letter words combined! LOL That means 2X the impact! Ugh! LOL

I'm a "not-the-mom" which means I have no children of my own, however, I do share a home with my best friend Katie, and her two teenagers. (You can go here to read and understand how this came to be so.)

While I am not a "parent" I do realize that I have a great responsibility in the lives of these kids that God has entrusted me with, at least for a time.

I now understand parents in a way I never imagined I would. I now think things like only five more years and they'll be gone! or God please help me survive this!

Recently a lady that is mentoring Katie gave her a book called Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens by Paul David Tripp. This book really looks at the parenting of teenagers from a very different perspective. The author, Tripp, says that the teenage years aren't to be survived, but basically to be embraced because they are opportunities. If we simply try to survive the teenage years, we will miss very special opportunities to minister to our kids, or in my case, my "not-the-kids", and experience many joys, victories and growth.

I've only read a minuscule portion of the beginning of the book and already it has transformed my thinking with this simple statement about the teenage years:
"These years are hard for us (parents) because they expose the wrong thoughts and desires of our own hearts"
Tripp explains that we hate the teen years because they expose who we really are. I read some of what Tripp writes and concluded that I am a Walmart Parking Lot Moment.
"The teen years are hard for us because they tend to bring out the worst in us. Parents find themselves reacting with accusations, guilt manipulation, and ultimatums, responding with a level of anger that they would not have thought possible."

"These year are hard for us because they rip back the curtain and expose us."

"This is why trials are so difficult, yet so useful in God's hands. We don't radically change in a moment of trial. No, trials expose what we have always been. Trials bare things to which we would have otherwise been blind. So, too, the teen years expose our self-righteousness, our impatience, our unforgiving spirit, our lack of servant love, the weakness of our faith, and our craving for comfort and ease."
The Walmart Parking Lot Moment is the the defining moment for me that exposed my self-righteousness, my impatience, my unforgiving spirit, my lack of servant love, the weakness of my faith, and my craving for comfort and ease. Guess where it happened? If you guessed the Walmart parking lot, you get a gold star!

I'm excited to dig into this book and learn more about how to embrace the teenage years and use the opportunities that arise to help Katie's kids grow into responsible adults that contribute to society and will glorify God in all they do.

This book doesn't seem to be a book about "How to Raise Teens", but rather a book about "how to Get My Heart Right While Raising Teens".

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