Oh Where, Oh Where have I been these last few weeks? I have neglected my blog. But that’s okay. I blog for myself, because I like to write: it helps me to process my thoughts. But I have been busy in the home. I’ve also been going through a difficult time and have felt very dry. You see, I have a child who is going through a time of rebellion against us and against God. Those who know me well will not be surprised to hear this…others may be. If you take a good look over my blog in recent months though, you will probably start to see it.
A few months ago, I thought of an acronym for parents of teens: POTS Parents of Teens. I lamented on how there seems to be a lack of POTS on the homeschool forums. I have spoken to a few POTS over the years and there are a few points that were common to many…points which I am now discovering for myself.
Parenting a teen…
Is many things; from exciting and adventurous to downright difficult. But it’s also a time of growing and relearning for a parent, for this parent. When I was the mother of younger children I was idealistic. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. If we don’t have any standards or values, then we will just go the way of modern culture but it’s necessary to remember what era we live in. We are raising children who will one day be adults in this world…not the era of the 1920’s or the ’70’s but this era. I have faced with some tough decisions over the years…some ideals I have been challenged on and others I have decided to be firm in. Being challenged is not always easy but always valuable. Through it we learn perspective and discernment.
What Is Your Measuring Stick?
I’ve learned that many things I once held dear and stood firm in are not actually rooted in God’s word. Sure they *sound* biblical, pure and noble (and there is nothing wrong with that) but I was holding fast to them as I thought it was God’s word…when in actual fact it can just be popular Christian culture. As fairly conservative Christian homeschoolers, we can often compare ourselves to other Christians and if we are stricter than them, we think we’re on the right path. Often we use the modern day church as our measuring stick. Instead we need to ask ourselves, “What does God’s word say about it?” Am I sure my answer to many teen struggles is based on God’s word, the church or what is socially acceptable?
Know what you believe and why and make sure it is from God’s word, not man.
I sense that many parents with younger children don’t want to hear the reality. The reality that some children, who have been raised to know the Truth, that have been thoroughly loved and respected just resist or worse, rebel against it all. I’ve heard the gazillion reasons of why this is happening…I’ve sensed the often unsaid comments from fellow Christians. I’ve felt eyes on us: as if by observing us people could avoid this happening to them by not making the same mistakes that we made. I’ve had it said that we have been too soft, too harsh, too protective, too liberal, too…, well I’m sure you get the idea. One person says it is because of reason A and another person will say it’s because of reason B, the exact opposite. Not that I actually ask too many people why…however simply being in this position, with a rebellious child, seems to allow many people to offer their opinion. All the parents that I know of desire the very best for their children (Sure I don’t know everyone and I know that this is not always the case but…). All the parents I know want to train their children to walk in the ways of God…for not only is the way of Truth and Life but the other way is paved with hurt and despair. No one wants that for their children. How helpful is it to look back and analyse every action? Will it change things? Sometimes, children just rebel…for no logical reason. We always want to find a reason, discover why, blame someone or something. But we must not forget the teaching of free will. And, the important thing as parents, is what we do from here…
So I have a child who is in rebellion…who does not believe or hold dear to the values that they were taught…that says they do not believe in God. Yes, this breaks my heart, and her father’s heart. It has also been very difficult to live each day amongst the problems that arise as a result of this conflict of belief. You may well imagine the time, effort, prayer and talks that are needed. Hence part of the reason for my absence. The other part is that this is all personal and there is much I won’t share (it is our business) but even while protecting our privacy I’m not sure the Australian homeschool community is being helped by this denial of rebellion. It just pushes POTS further away.
It’s so easy to have all the answers when our children are in grades 5 and 6 or when things are rosy…it’s when the cookie crumbles that the true test of character and faith are tested. That’s when knowledge either becomes wisdom or remains at academic knowledge. A few years ago, while my children were younger, I believed that Proverbs 22:6 was a promise. After studying the passage contextually I now know it is a principle, not a promise. I used to believe that rebellion shouldn’t happen in a Christian home school family. Well, I now know that lots of things happen in this world that shouldn’t. It is called sin. My child has a free will. God gave it to her. She’s not the only one who has exercised her free will, nor will she be the last.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
For those that want to know what formula we’ve followed, I can honestly say there is none- unless you count “There but for the grace of God, go I” as a formula. We have trained, taught, loved, prayed, and laughed with our children. We have made mistakes. We have asked them to forgive us. We have forgiven them. We’ve lived with them and learned with them. You may wish to ask me what or how we’ve parented so that you can formulate a checklist of things not-to-do. Oh, for your children’s sake don’t do this. Applying lists and rules and guidelines in and of themselves are just that – a list. Everything we do needs to be seasoned in grace and only motivated by a deep and sincere relationship with the Lord Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2: 8-10
Not Parenting from Fear
A couple of friends have asked me why I’m not beside myself with fear. I know who I was and who saved me. And He’s a big God. I was saved by grace. I couldn’t have saved myself. When (not if, but when) my child gets saved, I want it to the same, through faith by grace. God saved me and I know he has a plan and a purpose for my children and their salvation. It is not for their salvation I fear as I know that God has them in His Book of Life. However, my mother heart grieves and is deeply hurt for the hurts and scars that can occur when living a life without God. But Father God knows them and He knows their heart and the journey they must walk.
God is a God of salvation. Redemption is His business!
So that’s where I’ve been and it’s where I am. I am not perfect. I do not have a perfect family. My children are not perfect. There are sites and blogs where Christian home school parents don’t seem to have any problems. If you’re looking for that, this blog is not the place you’ll want to visit. But if you want to read the posts of a real, imperfect home school mum who loves her family greatly, despite its own shortcomings, then you might want to mosey on through the archives. I say read the archives because I am thinking of closing this blog down for awhile. I blog primarily for myself- as a way to process, clarify and articulate my thoughts. However, I’m becoming aware that not everyone understands my posts and I do not wish to cause anyone confusion. Until I am able to devote more time to learning how to articulate myself clearly I need to take a break.
Rebellious Christian kids often share many similarities. They are blocking God out of their lives, parents annoy them, and family life ticks them off. They are capable of being stubborn, obstinate, argumentative, aloof, and moody. . . And proud of it. They often seem embarrassed by your outward commitment to God and disinterested in your spiritual advice. They are no longer fans of church and Sunday School . . . Truly rebellious kids push away family affection. (pg. 3)
Dr. Tim Kimmel, director of Family Matters a non-profit ministry whose goal is to build strong families for every stage and phase of life. He is the author of many books on the family, including Why Christian Kids Rebel: Trading Heartache for Hope.