Possible to turn around a student/parent relationship in 24 hours? The rebuilding stage would definitely take longer than 24 hours (that could take months or years) – but the first steps can easily be achieved in 24 hours. I’m writing here to teens – with 2 radical thoughts that you must seriously consider if you want this turn-around to be a reality.
Everyone has something in common – at some point in your life you were blessed with a parent or a guardian – every one of us. When you think about it – if it hadn’t been for Mom or Dad or both of them – your life probably would be in pretty rough shape.
And yet – there is probably no relationship on the planet that elicits such a strong reaction from students than the relationship that exists between parent and child. Just you reading the word “Mom” or the word “Dad” can stir up strong emotions in you. For most of you – in your mind – either your Mom and Dad are heroes or they’re zeroes.
Like all the pressing issues of life – God has something to say about your relationship with Mom and Dad. In fact – God has MANY things to say about you and Mom and Dad. So when God speaks very clearly and very frequently about a subject, it would be good for us to listen very closely and see how what he’s saying applies to our lives.
God has a lot to say in the Bible about the relationship that a child is to have with his/her parents. And the direction God gives us is not overly complicated. In fact, you could probably apply what He says and start to see radical change in your relationship with your Mom/Dad within 24 hours!
I think the foremost passage on parent/teen relationship would be found in Ephesians 6:1-3: ‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
So – God makes a few things very clear here:
1 – He wants children obeying their parents
2 – He wants children to honor their parents
Let’s break it down a little further:
1 – God wants children to obey their parents
Why? Why would God want children to obey their parents? Obedience is one of the building blocks of society. Can you imagine a world where no one obeyed anything? What would happen to traffic? The work place? You would have pandemonium! Ever played on a sports team before? In sports you must have someone calling the shots – and you must have order. Plain and simple: sports teams that don’t listen – and don’t have order – don’t win. But in a home where you don’t have obedience and order you have the same thing: pandemonium. God wants things done in an orderly way:
“Let all things be done decently and in order.” – 1 Corinthians 14:40
So – this really isn’t complicated. God is requiring you as a student to obey your parents.
But you might say:
My parents are jerks – they don’t deserve to be obeyed. I don’t care – God says obey them.
But my parents ask ridiculous things of me – like to take out the trash. I don’t care – God says obey them.
But my parents are SO out of touch with reality. They have NO idea what they’re doing to my social life. I don’t care – God says obey them. You have to obey them:
- When you feel like it and when you don’t feel like it.
- When it’s convenient and when it’s inconvenient.
- When you think they’re being reasonable and when you think they’re being unreasonable.
In other words: 24-7 obedience. Radical obedience.
There is only one time when you don’t have to obey your parents: when they are asking you to do something that God in His Word (the Bible) has commanded you to do the opposite of. Like – if your parents told you steal something – or if they told you to lie – or if they told you to get an abortion. You would have to say “I’m sorry Mom and Dad – but you’re asking me to do something that would cause me to disobey God, and I can’t do that.” (Read Acts 5:29 for more information about this).
When it comes to radical obedience, can I make it really simple for you? I’ll tell you what I’ve told my kids since they were about 20 months old? Here’s radical statement #1:
“Obey: the first time – every time.”
That’s the obedience we’re talking about.
2 – God wants children to honor their parents
This is the heart attitude that God wants you to have a teen who is obeying Mom and Dad. It’s one thing to obey – but it’s another thing to obey from the heart. I have 4 boys – and I need my boys to obey – but I really need them to obey from the heart. You’ve all been around people who do things but they have horrible attitudes when they’re doing it. Could the same be said of you? John MacArthur points it this way:
“Honor is the attitude behind the act. The act is obedience, and honor is the attitude. Remember that an act without the proper attitude is hypocrisy. If you do what your parents tell you to do but you hate it and you’re unwilling and nasty about it, then you’re a hypocrite. If you do what your parents tell you to do but you’re bitter, fearful, reluctant, and selfish, that’s not the right spirit. God is after the attitude much more than He’s after the act, because if the attitude is right, the act will follow. But a right act with a wrong attitude is nothing but hypocrisy.” (MacArthur, J. The Fulfilled Family. Chicago: Moody Press)
So – you need to take out the trash – but you need to do it with contentment.
You need to turn the video game off when Mom and Dad tell you to – but you need to do it with contentment.
You need to turn the lights out when Mom and Dad tell you to – but you need to do it with contentment.
That’s honoring your Mom and Dad. That’s doing what they’re asking you to do with joy. God has placed such high value on the role your Mom and Dad play in your life that He is requiring you to honor your Mom and Dad – honor. Even if your parents are the biggest jerks in the world – you honor them. Honor them because they’re your Mom and Dad. It’d be like if the President or Prime Minister walked into your house right now – you might not think his policies are good – but when he walks in the room you better stand up. That’s the type of honor we’re talking about with your Mom and Dad.
Can I make it really simple for you? I’ll tell you what I’ve told my kids since they were about 20 months old? Here’s radical statement #2:
“Obey: with a happy heart.”
You don’t obey but in your heart you’re angrily saying “FINE!” In your heart you’re saying “Yes Mom…Yes Dad.” When you do this God is pleased and God honors YOUR life when you honor Mom and Dad.
What is it about obeying the first time every time and obeying with a happy heart that you need to adjust right now?
Scott Foreman is the Executive Director of Word of Life Canada, a youth organization where he has ministered since 1999. You can read more about Scott’s ministry here.