Tuesday, August 24, 2010


“I consider it right to stir you up by way of reminder…” -2 Peter 1:13

What is it with our teenagers and listening? Sometimes the directive given does not register in the mind receiving. In other words, our kids have selective listening. “Honey, here’s your allowance.” They show up in a flash, ready to receive what you have for them. “Honey, here’s a chore for you.” The kids are suddenly nowhere to be found.

Can you relate to this scenario? 11:30am: “Son, you need to have your room picked up- tonight the neighbors are coming over for dinner.” 3:00pm: “I just looked at your room and it’s a disaster- you need to clean it up now.” 5:30pm (30 minutes before the guests arrive): “Son, get your tail in you room and clean it up NOW!” 6:00pm (dinner time): cleaned room.

The truth is we all have selective listening. On Mount Carmel Elijah demonstrated to the entire nation of Israel that the Lord is God (1 Kings 18); but within a few years, the people had returned to Baal worship. Jonah’s preaching turned Nineveh upside down (Jonah 3:1-5). Only 150 years later, however, the city had returned to it’s pagan ways and was swept away like a flood by the Babylonians (Nahum 1:7-8).

I’m the same way, I listen and learn an important lesson and then I forget that very lesson and have to relearn it all over again. Why do we do that? Because the lessons learned and the directives given don't stick. They aren't permanent. As the old hymn says, I am “prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love.” They say it takes doing something at least 20 times to make it a habit. It tends to take a lot longer for me.

I learn habits well that suit my own interest and I resist habits that require work. I quickly learned how to use the remote to my HD TV in a few minutes. I read and reread the instructions in a flash. But when it comes to flossing, I get a D-.

So, our official title as parents becomes “reminderers” (I made that word up). As Peter concluded, his role was to remind his readers so they wouldn't forget what they had been taught. When we are good reminding parents, we “re-instruct” our kids on the task at hand. With patience and urging, we redirect our kids back to the right path.

“I’m not going to tell you again,” is one of the most repeated directives in the parenting toolbox. But we tell them over and over again. Be sure to reward your child when he/she is a “first responder.” Obedience is always deserving of a hug or treat. But don't lose heart in the long haul either. Stay firm, but understanding as you repeat the directive. Be specific and realize that teens are usually hearing more than they acknowledge.

God tried so hard to send prophets and signs to remind the people to turn back. In their stubbornness, they resisted and bore the consequences of their disobedience.
Grace is always willing to remind, remind and remind again.

Whether we’re handing out an allowance or a chore.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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