Some Considerations for Parents
In the last issue, Jim Beckman described how youth ministers can operate with a mindset which respects and empowers parents to be the primary catechists of their teenagers. Jim concludes this two-part series by writing to parents concerning the fundamentals for leading one’s own children to a life in Christ.
Discipleship is spelled T-I-M-E
If we intend to lead our own children closer to Christ, first and foremost we must spend time with them. Of course, setting aside time is uniquely challenging in today’s culture. But it is not impossible. With a little creativity, and some sacrifice, time is frequently found in our weekly schedules for things we prioritize—even if originally we might not have believed finding additional time was possible. Spending time with our children needs to be one of those priorities.
And please don’t buy into the farce that it’s all about “quality” time, not quantity. I have found it to be just the opposite, both in my work over the years with teenagers, and now with my own kids. Young people don’t really trust someone who won’t “waste time” with them. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true. When we are willing to spend time with another person, with no real agenda, no task to accomplish, nothing productive to get done, it shows that the person is important to us. In my experience, when I have invested myself in this way, it has earned me the right to be heard. Not only as a youth minister but also as a parent, I don’t assume that they will want to listen to what I share with them. I know I have to earn that.