Friday, April 30, 2010
“Not that I speak from want, for I’ve learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in”. –Phil. 4:11
Contentment is defined by Webster as “having satisfaction and ease of mind.” I think Webster is close. But a better way to define contentment is my granddaughter, Reese Elizabeth, sleeping! Only born for a few days, I stared at her sleeping in her swing and thought, ”how could life be any more peaceful that it is for a sleeping baby?”
So, how do we develop and continue to create a home of peace as that baby grows into a teenager? Here are 4 ways:
One way to develop a home of peace is to be what God has created us to be: a mother and a father. Someone commented yesterday that, “the key to a healthy family is mom being mom and dad being dad.” Given our teens’ free will, it’s not quite that simple, but it is a huge factor in molding that will. Having kids doesn't make one a parent. Parent is a verb as well as a noun and infers that we’re doing the hard work to provide for our kids. Reese is content because Elizabeth and Mark are doing their work as parents.
A second way to create a content environment for our kids is to provide safety. Reese is so vulnerable right now. She can't walk, lock the doors or do anything to protect herself. But her parents are creating safety for her. They provide a haven of security for her to grow. Parents provide these “havens” for their teenagers by creating an environment of peace and stability. Of course, that begins with a healthy marriage. At Shelterwood we teach that healthy marriages produce secure parenting every time! In that context, teens see home as a place to rest, not a place of stress.
A third way for parents to create an atmosphere of peace is to provide the proper nourishment for their kids. Reese is 100% dependent on Elizabeth right now to provide the food she needs to grow. Elizabeth isn't feeding her Dr. Peppers and candy bars, she is providing the milk Reese needs to be healthy. Proper nourishment for teenagers involves a slice of correction sandwiched between two slices of encouragement. Other meals include building up their spiritual, physical and emotional lives. Though our teens may not appear hungry, their need for proper nourishment never ends. If you don't “feed” them, they’ll find something to eat somewhere else. And those meals usually aren't good ones.
And the fourth way for parents to create an atmosphere towards contentment is to pray. I know it might sound trite and obvious, but prayer is the number one way we keep our kids in their place. That place is in the hands of the loving God that loves them and created them in the first place. Prayer changes our hearts as parents and transforms us from worrying and fretting, to loving and trusting. That, in turn, creates the secure home our teen’s need.
So, as we do the hard work of parenting, there are no guarantees. Our teenagers are in His hands. But we can know that we have been faithful to provide a secure home for that swinging baby we call our teenager.
by Joseph Staples ©