Driving home there are two places where cell signals are most likely to drop. What is frustrating is the inconsistency. Sometimes the signal is compromised and the call doesn’t drop but the sounds are garbled. At other times the signal dies. I discover after a few moments of awkward silence that I’m talking to myself. Still other times I sail right by the mountain and through the small dip in the road by the spillway without even a crackle on the line.
Garbled conversations, interrupted signals, and talking to yourself because your teen isn’t listening is your future. Having a clean, clear conversation with tweens, approximately 10 to 12 years old, is still entirely possible today.
Because very real obstacles, like the mountain I drive by on my way home, are not yet present between your tween and you, teaching, investing, and giving focused preparation now is both possible and strategic. And you need to get to it before the hormones of adolescence hit and they begin the physical and emotional journey into adulthood.
Depositing truth in the banks of their hearts as David said, “I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11) helps strengthen the spiritual signals to their Father in heaven who will be with them when you are not.
Rhymes settle into our memory banks more easily than facts, so this little prayer, if memorized, will go with your tween as he goes to school, as she joins a new peer group, as they grow into adulthood.
So much of the Christian life is a choice. The words of this prayer are a good reminder for your children that they need His strength to remain “steadfast, wise and strong,” when they face temptation, which increases in the teen years.
Jesus calls us to follow, but we choose to take the first step.
He invites us to abide in Him, but it is my choice to depend on Him for strength.
He offers us living water, but I must recognize my thirst, come to Him and choose to drink from His word. “If anyone is thirsty, let Him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37).
There is great mystery in these two, His offer and my choice. They coexist in ways impossible to explain. All I understand is I must respond to Him and so must your children.
Ahead in the teen years will be challenges aplenty but also times of delight and joy.
Prepare for both by investing today in your tweens. Be their parents, not their friends. Friendship is for when they are fully adults, not before.
Here are three ways to guide them in truth.
1. Teach them to pray: Model prayer by praying before school, before meals and every night as you tuck them in at night. They are not and will not be too old for that even at 18. There is comfort for a child, or a young adult, in the stability of a mom or dad who stand over their beds at night and pray, even if you’ve had a horrible night of arguments and disagreements. Especially if you’ve had a night or lots of nights like that. You are demonstrating the stability of God. His never-ending presence in our lives. If you quit praying, they might assume they are too old or that God has quit on them.
A prayer I prayed over my younger two daughters when they were in high school was the prayer of Moses in Numbers 6:24-26: “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” No matter what is happening in your family or your child’s life, this and other prayers are words of great comfort and peace.
2. Take your tween through Passport to Purity. As you know from your own journey through adolescence, relationships with the opposite sex are often what teens long for most but what also brings the greatest experiences of loss and pain. Check it out here and don’t miss the opportunity to give your tween biblical wisdom while there is still a clear signal between the two of you.
The best part about Passport to Purity is Dennis and I do all the talking about the hard topics of sex. You and your child just play the cd and listen! Couldn’t be easier or more rewarding. I promise.
3. Take them to church. Don’t let your tweens or teens make the decision to quit attending church. It’s your prerogative as the parent to insist on church attendance as a part of living in your home. You are providing food, shelter, and clothing so you can set the rules: church as a family being one of them. This was non-negotiable in our family.
Parenting is a challenge. I remember very well the stress and angst I felt over so very many things with my kids. But I can say feeding them spiritual food as much as you feed them physical food is as crucial as breathing. So print this prayer and post it in their rooms, perhaps even frame it. Pray it with them and ask them to pray it themselves, out loud. Learning to talk out loud to God is important too.
Be encouraged and keep being the mom, committed to doing all you can to invest well in your tweens.