My son, if your heart is wise,
My heart will rejoiceindeed, I myself;
Yes, my inmost being will rejoice
When your lips speak right things. (Proverbs 23:15-16 NKJV)
As we discuss with you the principles that we are working through with our middle son, Josiah, we hope that you will find it useful in your particular situation, either as you are dealing with it today, or as you prepare to deal with it in the future with your children. Some of these principles may rise to the surface without much notice. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
To illustrate, we only have to go back one day. (We told you we are sharing from our real life in this one.) Last afternoon, David interrupted his work to sit for over an-hour-and-a-half to discuss this situation with Josiah. He actually missed a major business call as a result. But quite honestly, Jesus words, What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his own soul? may apply quite well here. If we are not available to our children when they are working through emotional issues that will affect them potentially for years, when will we be?
We helped Josiah to see in that short time together that he needs to step up and show that he is truly ready for a relationship with someone else. We are trying to help him to understand that love isnt in a hurry. We have challenged him to read and meditate on the story of Jacob and Rachel (and Leah) as a way of understanding what love really meansseven years of work to marry the wrong woman! And then another seven to marry the one he really wanted to marry in the first place! Fortunately for Jacob, he didnt live in the U.S.A. or there wouldnt have been a Rachel at all! (Polygamy was normal in pre-Israel Middle Eastern culture.)
Josiah is being urged to show his commitment to Christiana by being somber in his commitment about finishing his high school requirements, as a testimony that he is serious enough about this young lady to pay a price. There were other conditions that we worked out for this personal situation as requirements for it to move forward.
As mentioned earlier, David has told Josiah that he needs to contact Christianas dad and go to him to learn what her dads expectations are. It may be that her dad doesnt think she is spiritually ready. As a matter of fact, the current situation has actually raised some flags in her dads mind that she is less spiritually mature than he previously thought she was. These kinds of situations have a way of raising the dross to the surface as our Christian lives are tested. This is true of both parents and children. It is our reactions to these revelations that are most important, and the ways that we respond to these situations are sometimes more significant than the events themselves.
Remember, this is real life here. There are no magic formulas for success, in spite of what we are told. There is, however, one guarantee that we have in scripture to fall back on. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 NKJV). We need to work with our sons and daughters to seek God together and expect Him to give us wisdom to work through the challenges of life as a family. He promises to provide answers.
Another principle is quite obvious. We should realize that it is our duty to protect our children. In this case, there are two children involved, both our child and the other one. For those of us who lived through the 1960s and 1970s especially, we have experienced the effects of the free love movement in devastating ways. It certainly makes us more conscious of the need to protect our own children from sexual harm. The current norms (or lack thereof) allowing for all kinds of sexual expression and permissive behavior make it even more important that parents are consciously involved.
However, we must also make sure we also dont over-react in protecting just our child without consideration of the other one. We need to be equally concerned about both children, since both are important to God and each family, of equal value in the eyes of the Lord. Love concerns itself with the interests of others, not just ourselves.
Join us again next time as we continue this important subject. For other ideas to help you raise your teenagers and prepare them for life after home school, get our book, The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School: A Parents Guide for Preparing Home School Students for College or Career and visit our Web site, www.davidandlaurie.com.