Following his famous dissertation on love in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, Paul points out that things had changed in his life, as one would expect of every life.
His description of this change was summarized this way: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
A child “grows up” to become a man or woman, eventually ending childlike behaviour to begin speaking, understanding and thinking as an adult. As the child demonstrates greater amounts of responsibility, mommy and daddy morph into mom and dad, taking on a different role.
There comes a time (not a point in time) when children should be looking to the Heavenly Father as their source of life and to parents for godly wisdom in living it.
Growing up means the adult student must eventually assume all the responsibility for seeking and coming to the knowledge of the truth.
Increasing self-motivation will soon lead children to take ownership of their own education. As this happens, the parental role as the teacher diminishes into more of an advisory role as a mentoring older brother or sister.
Although all adults must understand the importance of respect for others and the roles we play in life, it is also critical to understand that we all want to be appreciated as equals. Children morphing into adults greatly desire to be treated as equals, even if in the eyes of parents, they demonstrate moments of immaturity.
This is the reason they so much desire to be a part of some kind of social group, school if necessary, and want to join the adults in conversation in family social events. They just want to be treated as equals rather than dependent children.
The solution is simple. Treat young adults as adults in need of relatively more guidance from older mentors. Scolding parents is not what they need now, but rather friends, more importantly, someone who believes in them.
This is the common cry of the human heart, the very thing parents of pubescent children need to prioritize, especially the father, whose job it is to validate all of his children as the super special beautiful creations that they are.
Everyone needs to know they have an intrinsic value, an important purpose and a place in God’s kingdom. Obviously, how this important task is done will depend on whether the father is validating a man or a woman as well as the individual’s personal character and love language.
This may be a hard pill to swallow, but it must be stated. In failing to validate children, fathers fail in their role as God’s representative on earth. Nothing has a more lasting negative effect in the life of a man or a woman than the father’s failure to lovingly validate him or her as the most important person in his world.
God’s loving his children so much that He would be willing to die on the cross for them is the example dads need to follow.
Even more important is the fact that children will judge God by how parents, fathers in particular, behave. When the father fails to demonstrate a perpetual, unconditional love, acceptance and pride for his child, that child moves forward in life with a vacuum in his heart that cannot be repaired outside of divine intervention.
However, no one is perfect and all one can do is the best that one can do. That is all that is required of anyone, including mom and dad.
Now that we have addressed the spiritual needs of the pubescent child, we need to look at the most common fear and concern related to having a child transition to the secondary (or high school) level. This concern has everything to do with the child’s future, which, incidentally, nobody but God really knows much about.
One of the most confusing aspects of parenting is that while we need to prepare our children for their future, we are mostly clueless about what that future entails. It escapes most of us how, while fully aware that we have little knowledge of our own future, we could even have an idea of someone else’s!
This is because we have confused two things. We mix up “eternity” with the “future.” God asked us to direct our children to Him, the eternal God who is the only one who knows the future.
Schools, mostly operating outside of an acknowledgement of God, have no interest in eternity, so will focus on the children’s future they, obviously, also know nothing about. Our thinking that our task is to prepare children for their future is another hang-up we bring home from school.
Jesus gave us some “good” advice. After questioning our focus on the future need for food and clothing, He states that if we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (or shall we say, eternity) all our concerns about the future will be simply added unto us.
It should not escape our notice that the future is included within the eternal, therefore it should make sense that if we take care of eternal matters, future matters become non-issues.
However, in fairness, we are all concerned about potentially handicapping our child’s future and so we very often default to what we know and what we know is how the world takes care of this concern.
Once again, it is much wiser to put our trust in the eternal Lord, who knows the future, than to put confidence in temporal man, who does not.