Avoiding the lion

Here is a great thought from Shirley Dobson:

There’s no doubt that our culture’s assault on innocence is being engineered by Satan. The apostle Peter says that the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). If you have a strong-willed teen under your roof, he or she could very well be Satan’s next target.

When a lion approaches a buffalo herd with the intent to kill, he typically avoids the healthiest members of the herd; rather, he spends his time scouting for a sick, injured, or elderly member to attack. Your strong-willed teen is like a vulnerable buffalo in some ways. Those who suffer from low self-esteem are more likely to fall under the influence of peers than their more confident siblings. Like the lion, the devil may very well single out your vulnerable son or daughter to attack with weapons such as drugs, alcohol, or sexual temptation.

To hold back the enemy, we suggest that you keep your strong-willed teen involved in healthy activities. Though constant busyness and overstimulation are equally harmful to any child, large quantities of unstructured time can be devastating for the naturally rebellious teen. Get him or her involved in the best church youth program you can find, and encourage participation in athletics, music, part-time work, and other activities. Scripture warns that “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” That can certainly apply to your strong-willed son or daughter.

Approach your kids’ adolescent years as a wonderful and exciting time to be enjoyed, but also recognize that it poses many risks and challenges to their spiritual and physical health. Do whatever you can during this brief period to get them through the minefield of evil through which they must walk. There is greater safety in the early twenties, when judgment and confidence will develop in your kids. Until then, invest yourselves in their welfare, and above all—stay on your knees!

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Teaching your kids to look for those in need

Scripture tells us “A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17) In all likelihood there is someone close to your child who desperately needs a friend. In trouble and feeling emotionally isolated, they could minister Jesus’ love and be of tremendous help. Teach them to watch for those who need a friend.

The gift of humility

Our children will soon head back to school (some already have), and they’ll either ask – or answer – that natural question, “What did you get for Christmas?” Some children don’t get many presents.  Maybe their family can’t afford it.  Or they’ve decided to focus less on the material aspects of the holidays.  Either way, we can use this situation to teach our children a lesson in humility.  First, if they did get a lot of gifts, we can tell them how bragging makes us look bad and others feel worse.  And by not asking the question of their classmates, they might prevent hurt feelings.  Holiday gifts are wonderful… but holiday humility is even better.

Does your child want to quit sports?

It might be OK.  Many children want to quit playing because they’re simply not interested anymore. The main reason kids play sports is to have fun and be with their friends.  Winning isn’t as big a priority for them.  Parents should support them, encourage personal growth, and not unrealistically compare them to professional athletes when they do play.  And when they decide to hang up their cleats and go do something else, it might be best, but only under the right circumstances.

Learning from mistakes

Donald Trump is known for a lot of things. Making (and losing) riches is one of them.  One of Trump’s truisms is, “The second developer in is usually the one who makes the money.”  By this, he means the first developer made the mistake of purchasing a property, pulling permits, and laying pipe only to realize his cash flow projections were off.  So he sells for pennies on the dollar.  And moguls like Trump swoop in.

Mistakes are costly, in finance and in life.  But a willingness to seek counsel can help you minimize them. Teach your kids who to seek counsel from and encourage them to ask often.

What others think

You know, intellectually, that you cannot manage how others view you. You know that there will be those who don’t like you and will gossip about you. In fact, it has been said that twenty-five percent of your circle of acquaintances and friends will not like you, and there is nothing you can do to change their opinions. Since we cannot fully manage other’s view of us, let it go. Scripture tells us to please God, not man. Begin today to focus on how God sees you, seeking His approval and not the approval of man. 

This applies to our kids too…

The gift of counter-pressure

On April 10, 1963, the nuclear attack submarine Thresher was no more. Its deep-dive trials southeast of Cape Cod came to a cataclysmic end and all 129 men aboard perished in 8,400 feet of water. The nuclear reactor probably shorted out and the sub did not have enough power to stop itself from sinking to the bottom and getting crushed by massive water pressure.  It was a tragedy.

It’s interesting to note that while a state-of-the-art submarine was crushed under immense pressure, there were thinly-scaled fish happily swimming around the accident site.  How is that possible?  Because the pressure inside the sea creatures was as great as the water pressure outside them.  They were equipped to withstand their environment.

What a great parenting parable.  Our goal is to make our children so full of faith and happiness on the inside that they won’t get crushed under enormous peer and media pressure on the outside.  We need to give them the gift of counter-pressure.