Archive for February, 2013

Tonight I had dinner at my oldest daughter’s apartment. I had worked late and missed my ride. She and her husband live downtown. She offered to come get me, feed me dinner, and drive me home. It was a great meal.

Yesterday I coached my youngest son in a basketball game. He was double-teamed for much of the game by some great players, but kept his head and the ball and led his team to a win. Their tournament begins this weekend. They will do great.

This evening I talked with my youngest daughter about job possibilities and driver’s permits and school trips and homework. And she asked if she could have my “vintage” UK wildcats sweatshirt. She’s a great kid.

This afternoon I received an email from my oldest son’s guidance counselor at the school of his choice. They are preparing to send out his award letter. Sunday he played keyboard and sang with the worship team at church. Tomorrow is opening night of his final high school play. His talent has given him some great opportunities.

I enjoyed texting my middle daughter this week. Away at college we still “talked” college basketball, Birthday Banquet, family news etc with the use of our thumbs and a phone. We have a great and easy friendship.

You know what? I realized that I don’t love these kids the way I used to. Not the way I did when I held them in those first few minutes…or the way I did when they took those first steps forward (or in Caleb’s case, up a ladder!)…or the way I did when they colored an original for me and Annamarie. No….my love has grown.

Don’t get me wrong. It has not all been sweet greenhouse loving. There have been storms…dry seasons…hot, scorching suns. But my love has not only survived…it is far greater than I ever could have imagined.

There is some great stuff to unpack in this chapter. But for tonight, answer me this: As your love has grown, what are some things that you are grateful for and simply love in your teen that you could not enjoy in the same way when they were a child?

(This post is inspired by chapter 7 of Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up With Your Teenager by Eugene Peterson. Get a copy of this great little book and check back each Thursday for the next 6 weeks to become part of the discussion).


Posted: February 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

If you have been part of this experiment, you know that we are halfway through Eugene Peterson’s book “Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up With Your Teenager.” If not, please wander back through the posts on the first 6 chapters. Either way, I’d love to know what you would like to see as we finish the book.

What works well for you?

What do you wish was done differently?

Why do you come (or did you come this time) to the blog?

Thanks for helping me get ready for the second half!

Parents are ‘the architects of the family’; they are in a position and have the power to reshape the atmosphere and reestablish the trust.” (Clinebell quoted in Peterson, p 49)

Peterson asks “What kind of trust relationship do you have with God? Do you trust Him? Does He trust you? How do you show your trust for Him? How does He treat you?” Those are great questions, but unless our answers are informed by Scripture revealing that nature and character of God, our answers may only be reinforcing bad theology.

Here’s a hint about God’s modus operandi: Who did He trust with evangelizing the world…with making disciples of all nations? Here are a few more: Who did God trust with leading his people out of Egypt? With rescuing the spies in Jericho? With being the first King of Israel?

We are both teachers and learners of trust – as disciples we are learners, as parents we are teachers. And we teach best when we teach what we have experienced from our Heavenly Father, not from our environment in this broken and sinful world. Do you remember what it was like at the beginning….Were you trustworthy? I may not know you well reader, but I am confident of the answer. You were no more trustworthy than I….and I was a sinner. “God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Peterson claims that in “matters that are at the very core of our existence, we learn through demonstration, by having truth done to and for us. The One who is the very embodiment of Truth revealed what we could not know on our own. That Truth is self-sacrificial love. And so “we love because he first loved us.” (I John 4:19)

But what happens if we try to play it safe…if we choose not to risk….not to love…not to trust? According to Peterson, “if parents refuse to trust until their children prove that they are worthy of being trusted, trust will simply not develop.” (p. 50)

Mom and Dad, friend of teens…those kids you and I love will have a shot at learning to receive the love and trust of God as we model it for them. How does that square with good stewardship? I think we need someone to articulate a good theology of risk….anyone up for it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

(This post is inspired by chapter 6 of Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up With Your Teenager by Eugene Peterson. Get a copy of this great little book and check back each Thursday for the next 7 weeks to become part of the discussion).

To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” George MacDonald.

It’s almost too simple. We learn caring by being cared for. We learn to trust by being trusted. And to teach others, we need to extend trust and care to them.

This creates a real bind, doesn’t it? Many of us have been around long enough to put great stock in sayings like “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me” or to “know” from experience that a person who lets you down once will do it again…and again…and again. We want people to earn our trust, to show us beyond risk that they are worthy of whatever we give to them.

But adolescence is a time of great insecurity. Teens are learning to make decisions. The learning curve is steep. And the result is not always trustworthy behavior, but inconsistency and greater insecurity.

Peterson uses the image of a young child learning to walk. The parents are cheerleaders, encouraging risk and overlooking failure as they celebrate the success that will be. Is that a good image for teaching adolescents to be trustworthy? Why or why not?

Who trusted you? Had you earned it…or was it a gift you grew into?

(This post is inspired by chapter 6 of Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up With Your Teenager by Eugene Peterson. Get a copy of this great little book and check back each Thursday for the next 7 weeks to become part of the discussion).

Valentine’s Day

Posted: February 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

So how does your teenager feel about Valentine’s Day? Do you know? Have you asked?

I can’t tell you the number of teens who in the past 10 days or so have confided that they “really hate Valentine’s Day!”

Of course not all kids think alike. But I won’t say anything more. I don’t want to spoil what could be a great conversation with you and your student.

The capacity to relate to another person in a caring way is an achievement of maturity.” BOOM!

This isn’t Peterson’s point, but here is a great gut-check. Am I mature? Well, do I relate to others in a caring way? He goes on:

Young people have moments when they care, but it is not characteristic among them to have the sustained strength and emotional stability for the faithful caring of another.” (p. 43)

According to Peterson, you learn caring by being cared for. So what happens when a generation reaches “adulthood” without having been cared for in such a way that they are capable of caring for others? (That is a lot of uses of the word “care!” I typed it and I had to reread it!) Unfortunately, Peterson doesn’t weigh in on this one. But we are there in North America, aren’t we?

Dr. Chap Clark and Fuller Youth Institute have both done a great job of chronicling what Chap calls “generations of systemic abandonment.” Where have you seen the effects of systemic abandonment in adults?

Peterson does not worry about the greater culture here, but engages us as individuals to remind us that differences are an occasion for an exchange of personal love, faith and hope.

What a great reminder! How would it change the lives of those around us if we used words like surprise, delight, interesting, joy, admiration, affection, expectation and exciting to characterize generational differences in our minds and to set our expectations for encounters with others of a different age….especially with those who are 10 to 30 years old?

(This post is inspired by chapter 5 of Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up With Your Teenager by Eugene Peterson. Get a copy of this great little book and check back each Thursday for the next 7 weeks to become part of the discussion).

 “Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”       George Orwell

What if the much-maligned “generation gap” were a gift instead of a curse? What if every age had gifts and graces and unique abilities that would go unseen without the catalyst of another generation to bring them to full maturity? What if wrestling through the differences between the ages were not only part of their discipleship, but our own?

Peterson encourages us to look at Joel 2:28 and I John 2:13. What differences do the Biblical authors highlight? Can we draw any implications from this?

Avoiding the ditch of abdication, self-deprecation and withdrawal, while conversely avoiding the ditch of pontification and bluster, those of us who are older are challenged to accept our calling as adults in this time and place in history.

What does that mean? For one thing, it means coming to terms with intimacy. We have had the opportunity to move past the self-doubt and uncertainty of adolescence. We have had the opportunity to risk being vulnerable and to become genuinely close with another. One of the great questions of adolescence is one of belonging and intimacy. Who loves me/who do I love? “The parent generation has the obligation first to achieve and then to demonstrate intimacy – to show that it is possible and to show what it looks like.” (p.43)

My experience in youth ministry in a rapidly changing culture tells me that this issue is one of the great obstacles to successfully reaching adolescents. We as adults often have no idea of what true intimacy is and therefore are unable to model it. Is that too harsh an indictment? Where have you seen true intimacy modeled in a way that is winsome to all ages? How do you reach across the “generation gap?”

My apologies for the late update this week.

(This post is inspired by chapter 5 of Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up With Your Teenager by Eugene Peterson. Get a copy of this great little book and check back each Thursday for the next 7 weeks to become part of the discussion).