Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Adolescence/Teen Years (07/16/09)
TITLE: Know It All
By John Elliott
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If you understand the saying, “Hurry up and move out while you still know it all,” (source unknown) then you have raised a teenager. Teenagers bring unique characteristics to the term “know it all.” Not only do they not know it all, but they generally take the marginal experience that they do have and bolster it with a bravado that would make Genghis Kahn proud. I would wager that most of us wonder what will hurt less – saying nothing, returning the quip or smacking them up side the head. For the record, my mother performed the first two for quite a while and the one that got my attention was the time she slapped my face. It was very effective!
Children do not come with instruction manuals and often puzzle us as we weigh the advice and instruction of our parents versus what our children say they want and what we want for our children. The instruction period during the teenage years is neither an easy task nor one that should be taken lightly. Admittedly, we are all human and fail our children from time to time. Sometimes it is not pretty.
While I do not claim to be able to discern the correct response for every situation, I do believe that we parents have to give our children direction on how to take the responsibility of making and owning up to their own decisions – and then let them do it. Not giving them this guidance and trust is tantamount to giving up on them. And when we give up on them, they know it and the real trouble begins.
In my own case, I failed my eldest son by not taking the time to impress upon him the fact that driving a vehicle well can be catastrophic. It caused mourning in two households and angst in a third while my son escaped relatively unharmed physically. Emotionally, my son was scarred for life. More than ten years later, he and I are still stumbling through the pain and anguish at his pace, which is much slower than mine.
God, our Heavenly Father, has given us a great model for helping our children with their decision making. He gives us His Holy Word for guidance and asks us to come to Him in prayer for even more guidance and direction. Then He allows us to make our own decision and proceed. Should we make a poor decision, generally speaking, He does not rescue us from that poor decision and its consequences. Rather, He uses that decision and its consequences to bolster our understanding for future decisions and our growth in faith. (In my own case, I am learning patience like never before.) Most important of all, God gives us the example that regardless of our mistakes, He is never in short supply of love, understanding and forgiveness. These are the same qualities we need to be showing our "know it alls."
If you have a “know it all” in your home, love them unconditionally. The consequences of not doing so could be eternal.
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