“A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother.” (Proverbs 10:1 NIV)
Back in the 1990s, John Gray wrote a popular book on relationship entitled “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus”. When I look at my teenagers, I have to ask myself if maybe, just maybe a book should be written entitled “Parents are From Earth, Teens are from Jupiter”!
Have you noticed that adolescents are a different kind of breed, or should I say a different kind of “alien” specie?
You don’t believe me? Then explain what happened to the loving cherubs that once occupied their rooms! You used to be a superhero in their eyes. They used to be so excited just to see you, to hug you, to love you to pieces, to spend time with you.
Then suddenly, those charming kids changed. No more love demonstrations in public. Hugs now appear with comments like: “Do I have to?” Teenagers mysteriously disappear in their rooms or outdoors, until its meal time and even then their minds are on their I-pods–or I-pads–or whatever the word is that starts with “I”. It’s like their brains have been lifted out of their bodies and replaced with alien clones, ones where emotions are limited to indifference and attitude.
Some of these teenagers remain this way their entire lives. I guess their encounter with the unknown was so dramatic that they lost their way home. But there is hope. Some of them occasionally give you glimpses of what used to be, and you get notes like this:
“I want to thank you a lot for being the best father you could possibly ever be. I want to take this time to appreciate all the hard work you have ever poured into my life, as well as everything you have done for me. And on that token, I apologize for all the arguments and shortcomings we have ever had. On top of that, I apologize as well for any hardship and grief I put you through during my “rebellious years”. You have indeed been the ideal father. Even when you embarrass me the most, deep down, I do appreciate it. You know this by now, but I love you. Thanks.”
You frame notes like this and hang them over your fireplace.
Still others, once they experience fatherhood or motherhood, come back to their senses and wonder out loud: “How could you have kept up with me all of those years?”
These are special moments to savor.
I wonder why we all have to experience what we call the “rebellious years”. It’s only when I opened my Bible that I understood. Only by experiencing what our very own kids are going through in life are we able to catch a glimpse of what God is going through with each one of us. For aren’t we all the “rebellious” kind? By watching our teens we can empathize with what God goes through on an hourly basis with each of us. After all, aren’t we His children? Aren’t we called sons and daughters of the most High? Didn’t He promise us an inheritance out of this world?
“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” (Gal 4:4-7 NIV)
“You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence.” (Col 1:21-23 The Message)
Does this mean we love our “rebellious” kids any less? No way!
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NIV)
These rebellious years have everything to do with who is in control. Once we realize that being in charge of ourselves does not fully satisfy us, and once we allow God to be at the helm of our lives, our “alien” brains dissolves mysteriously. We have finally reached home.
(To access the entire “Only in Jesus” devotional series, please click here.)