listening when they’re ready to talk: mothering teens

My two oldest boys returned from spending a few hours with good friends the other night and planted themselves on my bed where I was reading. They shared about their evening and we drank in the smell of a coffee scented candle they’d bought. (For the record, I hate the taste of coffee but love the smell of it).

The hour grew late and one of them hugged me goodnight and made his way to bed. The other one stayed.

He didn’t seemed to have anything in particular pressing on his heart yet he seemed hesitant to leave the room. So we talked.

For over three hours, we talked.

The conversation was casual and unscripted. Neither of us had a plan or hidden agenda. But my boy unloaded some deep thoughts on me that night. Many of which thrilled me to hear coming from his lips. Others gave me pause.

Nothing he said was bad or even hinted at rebellion. But it was clear he was owning the implications of what it would mean to truly surrender his plans, hopes and dreams to God. He wasn’t resisting, exactly, but clearly he was attempting to process it all.

I listened and battled the urge to jump in. I felt certain I knew some of the answers he was seeking and struggled to resist smacking x,y and z down before him as the definitive path he should pursue.

I struggled because even while I wanted to “help” I realized the importance of not teaching children WHAT to think but HOW to think and, even more importantly, how to listen. Because I felt the Lord tugging my own heart with the reminder that the goal isn’t to indoctrinate these kids with our beliefs but to help them establish their own.

I repeat from an earlier post, calling myself a Christian doesn’t make me one. And being the child of a Christian doesn’t make them one.

We cripple them when we hold them captive under our spiritual thumb, disallowing them the oppounity to seek Jesus for themselves. We create spiritual hostages that very often seek an escape at the first glimmer of freedom.

Instead, we need to introduce them to the Spirit. We need to tell them of the role He plays in the plan of salvation. We need to help them learn to ask for the Spirit to fill their lives EVERY SINGLE DAY.

They don’t need to clean themselves all up and present themselves acceptable. They simply need to listen for that Voice and train themselves to heed it. Because heeding the call of the voice of the Spirit IS the cleansing.

Plain and unbelievably simple.

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