Thursday, December 16, 2010

Traditional change

“For I know the plans I have for you…” –Jer. 29:11

It’s been said that the only thing that can be predicted is change. We can be 100% sure that, given enough time, things will change. Help your kids navigate the changes that affect their lives because the changes ahead only grow more difficult and one day they won't have you there with them.

But also teach them to respect tradition. There are some things that should stay the same- some rituals and allegiances that we need to pass on to others.

I was with a group of teenagers at a nursing home years ago when a sweet lady in her 90’s gave me a gift. I was trying to converse with her about how she was doing and she said, “You know honey, life is all about going with the flow and not resisting change.” I’ve never forgotten what she said.

Most of us resist change. Some say, “Oh, I just love change” but innately most of us like predictability and consistency and when direction changes, we tend to freak out. Yet, for God to be able to work and maneuver in our lives, He has to move the pieces. Like the popular song says, “ I can’t go with you and stay where I am, so you move me.” If we’re going to grow, we have to allow God to move us. Like most areas, our kids watch us and take constant mental notes on how we, as parents, handle life’s surprises.

Forrest Gump’s mom told him, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” Life is unpredictable. But we do need to make plans. Planning our way is a good thing to do and goal setting is an important discipline. But, every goal setting exercise should be done in the context of God’s overwhelming ability to trump any plans we make.

A friend was telling me yesterday about his plan on buying new vehicles for their family for the next 10 years. “I will buy this particular car for my wife who will pass that vehicle down to me in 3 years and then I’ll pass it on to my teenager 3 years later.” A great plan. But none of which calculates the unknown factors in that 1o year span. The breakdown, the car wreck and the hail damage all have a tendency to change the plan.

The point is, make plans and set goals, but always remember that our loving, wise God may disrupt what we thought was the perfect way to go. Why? Because He has a better plan in mind and He knows what we need more then we know what we need.

But remember, if your teen suggests that you should change Christmas plans this year and not visit the grandparents, don't give in to his desire to change. Remind him that it’s important to visit and respect his elders. Though your kids may whine and complain, insist that family traditions be kept and honored.

Discuss with your kids the differences between adjusting to change and sticking with tradition. There is a right time for both.

If we trust that God is in control, it’s okay that we don't know what kind of chocolate candy we’re getting.

Because whatever we choose is still 100% chocolate.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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