Our county Chamber of Commerce runs a teen leadership program every year, inducting nominees from each of the local high schools. This year two home schooled students were also selected, including my oldest son.
We were surprised to learn that this group of 30 future community leaders is 2/3 women. I’m sure those girls worked very hard to earn their spots in the group, realizing the opportunity in it.
Nevertheless, we are troubled that there are so few young men in a group dedicated to building leaders.
We asked ourselves, “How could this be?” Is it something about the nominating process? Are young women more interested in developing leadership skills and hearing from community leaders than young men? Are our young men busy with other activities, or do they not feel ready to start leading in the real world? We don’t know the answer.
We do know that each of our sons will take their place as men one day. Initially they will be young and immature, yet as men they will still need to be willing and able to lead.
How can we prepare our sons to take on their rightful role?
PRAY. We need the Lord to work in our sons’ hearts!
Whatever situation our children are facing, we must admit that we are not capable of doing all that needs to be done to shape their character. We cannot execute the role of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Our strength is limited. Mercifully, His is not.
PREPARE. Dedicate your time and attention to raising up disciples of Christ.
Discipling your kids may not seem to be a glorious part of the Great Commission, but each parent can be certain God has given this commission directly to them.
During the teen years it can be tempting to “coast,” relying on the efforts you put in during the younger years. This can have disastrous consequences!
I was nervous when my son got a BB gun for his 10th birthday. He has shown over the past several years that he is capable and conscientious with it, but that doesn’t mean I would hand him an assault rifle now and assume he would be capable of handling that, as well. Despite many similarities in operation we know that there is a tremendous difference in “firepower” between those two guns. The latter would demand further and more intense training before we could feel safe about our son handling such a weapon.
Our teens are developing mentally, emotionally, and physically. They are no longer children, and the war they are fighting against the powers of this world is not child’s play. Their development in all these areas has given them a lot more “firepower” than they used to have. They now possess greater ability to cause damage to themselves and to others. It is naive for us to think the enemy won’t tempt them to do exactly that.
In many ways our teens need as much time and attention as our younger children do, though for different reasons.
Most of childhood is dedicated to laying a firm foundation, but it is during the teen years that we can finally build the house. Too many parents lay the foundation and then just stop there, leaving their teens to construct the rest on their own.
PLOT. Try to plot with your children, not against them.
How well do you know your child’s heart, dreams, goals, and plans? When they become teens will they feel you are working for them or against them?
Some of our sons may have ridiculous, unwise, or even potentially sinful goals and dreams, and we may need to lovingly help them to stop “reasoning like a child.” If they are in Christ, the Holy Spirit will be actively and personally directing them, guiding them into the calling that God has placed on their lives.
We don’t know God’s mind, and we can’t see the future, but we should be willing to “dig in” and talk to our sons about their specific goals and dreams for the future. If it is something the Lord may honor, we should help our sons to plot and plan how to bring these dreams to legitimate potential. Their aspirations may not come to pass in the end, but we will have walked beside them all the way: supporting, training, counseling, and encouraging.
PERSEVERE. Let us not grow weary so close to the finish line.
We need to faithfully see our discipleship task through to the end. Some of us may be very encouraged right now in the fruit our children are starting to bear. We need to keep working in that field so that we might one day see a much greater harvest when the time is ripe. Others may be discouraged and even ready to give up hope. Do not give up! That is just what Satan would have you do. Put your hand to the plow and don’t look back.
*Originally published at Visionary Womanhood