Do You Desire To Bring Your Child Into The Kingdom?

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Friday, April 25, 2008

I Can Live With That

photo by maxf

Now that my youngest two are teenagers (13 and 15) I spend a fair amount of time encouraging - or dodging, your choice - questions about romantic relationships, teen group dynamics, image and reputation. I really appreciate those moments when the answers are straight-forward, because frankly, they don’t happen that often. Discernment has become a regularly used theological term in our household these days.

Discernment, however, is a very good character trait to try to instill in teens. Although our children aren’t exposed to certain things to the extent that other teens are (because we homeschool), our children don’t exactly live completely sheltered lives. We discuss content found on television, the movies, the internet, in magazines and books and display ads in stores and billboards. Not all of the children in their youth group lead stellar Christian lives. My daughter learned about all the best parties in town while sitting with a group of girls at church.

Teaching our children to lead holy lives set apart from the way the world does things isn’t easy. Let me change that. The teaching part is easy; dealing with the inevitable adolescent fallout isn’t always so neat. All teens want to feel like they belong, that they not only fit in but that their company is genuinely wanted by their peers.

So while teaching discernment to my children is a good thing, I also have to recognize that their decision to dress, think, act and date differently from their peer group may put them in the proverbial fishbowl looking out into the great, big world. I suspect that might not always be the position of security it’s meant to be.

But sometimes my children prove me wrong. Recently we were discussing sexual purity during our family devotion. When I shared that their peers may say they’re ‘out of touch' or a ‘prude’ for living a life of modesty and sexual abstention, my daughter retorted, “They can call me a prude if they want. That doesn’t bother me.”

“Really?” I asked, pleased but wondering how genuine her response was. “You can be a prude and proud of it?”

My daughter smiled broadly, lifted her fist defiantly in the air and said loudly, “Mom, I’m a prude working toward being a Goody-Two-Shoes!”

And after falling over with laughter, I decided, I can live with that.

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