Tonite, Angie and I are leading a seminar at Lake Forest, "Parenting Teenagers." A primary overarching theme we will likely return to throughout the hour and a half will be the tendency we've observed in ourselves and our friends. Even among parents who we think 'nailed it' in the grade school years. Upon getting their oldest child deep into middle school, many parents seem to quickly gravitate toward one extreme end of this spectrum or the other. One end of the spectrum: no or little shaping and discipline, belieivng the lie that 'you're done,' 'peers matter more than parents now,' or accepting their child's push away as definitive. The other end of the spectrum is: no freedom. We'll explore that tonite.
Here is the 'fine print' I plan to begin with this evening: "1. Teaching this seminar is the dumbest thing we could possibly do tonite - we aren't finished yet and our boys are still teenagers! If we act like we know it all, wouldn't the evil one love to ramp up temptation of us and our boys. Also if we act like we know it all, wouldn't the Holy Spirit of God want and need to teach us humility? So with fear and trembling we will try to be clear - we are not finished and we have not/do not get it right all the time! A couple of other preliminaries -
2. we do not have a 'system' or a 'method' to recommend to anyone. Just principles, most based on Scripture, that apply differently to different familly situations and different types of teenagers.
3. we will be intentionally vague about some stories and details, because while I have chosen a public life, my children have not and their privacy matters. Please do not ask them about any of the principles or stories we've shared tonite, but feel free to talk to me and Angie anytime.
Tonight's gonna be fun.