"Students are not problems to be solved; they are people to be loved through a process... a normal process" a quote from Tom Shefchunas, middle school pastor at North Point Church. Can we be honest for a second? Parenting is hard! There are moments when our kids drive us crazy, and we wish we could figure out how to fix them. Give us a magic formula, or the right words, or the perfect program so that they will act appropriately. Why can't they live by the mantra: Do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do? The truth is we hold our children to unrealistic expectations, we expect them to think and act in complex ways like adults do. But we as parents, have forgotten what it's like to be teenagers. The brain is going through some crazy cerebral renovation, especially during the middle school years. Their brains are in overdrive trying furiously to develop reference points to learn how to engage emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually to every life experience. Oh and by the way, their cerebral renovation is generally NOT completed until around the age of 26.
Please indulge me for a moment. Try standing on one foot for a minute. Hard... probably not. Now stand on one foot, but also close your eyes. Hard... oh yeah!! Why it is more difficult with your eyes closed, because you have taken away a reference point. Developing reference points for our children is a process, a long sometimes difficult process. There are many great reference points; love, honesty, integrity, respect for authority, trustworthiness, parental examples, etc. But the greatest of all reference points is Jesus. If we truly want our kids to grow into successful adults and mature believers, we need to lovingly show them how to associate Jesus as the reference point in every situation, relationship, and choice that they will encounter. 2 Timothy 3:16 reminds us that all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousnes.
Sanctification is the process in which God lovingly teaches us how to live like Jesus. Parenting is the process in which we get to lovingly teach our children how to become mature adults. Be encouraged, Proverbs 22:6 reminds us, train children to live the right way, and when they are old, they will not stray from it.
Soli Deo Gloria