I realized today that just like the proverbial horse, you can lead a teenager to something, but you sure can’t make them do it! When my children were younger, they may have openly rebelled against direction, throwing fits or even toys. Teenagers are a lot trickier though. The ones I have here all smile and nod when I present a suggestion or idea, but then they might conveniently “forget” about it.
When children are small it is very important to teach them about obedience, if for no other reason than their own safety. As they mature though, they naturally start looking around at the world and begin asking questions. I have been mothering for 17 1/2 years now and I have been asked things that I never dreamed I would have to have an answer for! Of course there are many times that I don’t have an answer and I pray really fast for wisdom about what to say.
As my oldest sons approached their teenage years, I knew they would suddenly become smarter than me, because all teenagers know everything, right? I prepared them for this by telling them if they could just remain respectful until they were in their late twenties, early thirties, (when children begin to realize that maybe Mom knew something after all!) that we would be okay. I am happy to say that for the most part, this has worked. We have had our rough patches of course, but during those times I remind them about respect.
The very important thing about this respect, is that it goes both ways. I will suggest something, or give a little advice on what I have found helpful in life, but when at all possible, I allow my teenagers to make their own choices and even have the privilege of responsibility and ownership of things around our home. I think these years are so important for them to learn how to succeed and fail while still at home.
So when I lead them to some “water” that they don’t want to drink, I try to respond with a whole lot of grace. I realize that even though I am no longer a teenager, there are so many times that my Heavenly Father leads me to water and I pray with Jesus, Father if it be possible, please take this cup from me!