A Voice in the
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." (Eph6:1)
Again, in God's sovereign timing, this Tuesday's commentary "Raise up your Child" was written a couple weeks ago, but ended up on the 'schedule' to be e-mailed -this- week. Monday night on ABC-TV John Stossel hosted a special on Teens. The special explored some fascinating scientific medical facts about differences between Teens and Adults, as well as some statistical data.
First of all on the medical front, they placed both adults and teens into a scanning machine which would report brain activity, showing 'where' in the brain certain 'processing' of data was taking place. When shown pictures of different people in various states of emotion, or problems to resolve, adults use the 'cognitive' areas of their brains. But teens use an area deeper in the brain, closer to the 'autonomic' area; not so much 'reasoning' as 'automatic', 'emotional' and 'reactive'.
In terms of physiology, the 'efficient' working of the body as a 'machine'... metabolism, physical activity, etc. the male body is at peak efficiency at ages 18-19, and females around 13-14.
This program, of course, being of the world's wisdom, approached teens as "young adults" with "rights" as adults. Parents are encouraged to do more 'listening' to their teens than 'lecturing'. Compare that to God's Word which says, "Sons, hear the instruction of a father, and listen in order to know understanding. (Pr4:1) "Listen to your father who sired you, and do not despise your mother when she is old. (Pr23:22) And in the case where a young boy was being grounded by his parents for disobedience (because his mother had 'said so'), after the parents 'listened' to him, then he went to the party he was originally wanting to attend. He got his 'way'. He didn't have to comply with his parents' wishes, because, after all, he is a 'young adult' now, and able to make his own decisions.
But God says, "children, obey your parents." Why is this so? If Teens are at "peak efficiency" ...the "prime" of their 'mechanical life' and 'creativity' why be 'bogged down' by older 'less efficient' adults? Why not be allowed to just 'go for it' and "be all that you can be"?
"Foolishness [of the sin nature] is bound in the heart of a child" (Pr22:15)
One of the fruits of the Spirit is "self-control" (Gal5:23) And we are further exhorted "putting away lying, let each man speak truth.." (Eph4:25)
Parents, do you feel you can "trust" your teenagers? How often do you 'proudly' proclaim to others, "I know my child; my child does not lie to me"? Well, another statistic they told, in polling Teens, 92% admitted to lying.. "to everyone, about most anything." -Especially- to their parents!
Why lie? Because they -know- they are doing things contrary to the standards of their parents. They are not 'controlling' themselves, staying within the prescribed boundaries. They -know- they are rebelling. Well, they don't call it "rebellion" ...they call it "independence", "discovering" and "expressing" themselves.
But you see, God's order of things is that a parent should "train up a child in the way he should go." (Pr22:6) Not allowing them to be fools. "A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself. (Pr18:2-kjv) ...or... "expressing his own heart" (nkjv)
Why is this? Let's look at this 'medical evidence' again to understand. Something which utterly amazed me... they showed pictures of different people in various states of emotion to both adults and teens: anger, frustration, happy, deceitful, etc. The teens questioned could not 'see' (recognize) the indicated emotions, like the adults did.
You see; the bodies of teens are physiologically at peak performance, but we noted from their brain scans, they are not yet in full 'control' of themselves. They do not have the cerebral capacity, yet, to make reasoned, rational decisions. It is physiological. Thus, they -need- 'guidance'. They need 'training' to understand these things. They are not yet 'ready' to make all their own decisions, like our society is telling them they should make. They -need- the 'protection' of their parents. So, the parent may no longer be in peak efficiency, but they have 'experience'. They know the dangers. (e.g. For all their physical efficiency, teens have the highest risk for auto insurance. Older adults may have slower reaction times, but their 'experience' keeps them out of accidents.) When that predator (sexual, drugs, cult, etc.) comes along, that the teen doesn't recognize, and the parent does, the teen needs to respect the parent's wisdom.
When you let your teens run around with other teens, unsupervised, you are letting the "blind lead the blind". And Jesus said that they will both "fall into the ditch" (Mt15:14b) If "foolishness is bound" in the heart of -a- child, we see regularly what happens when -many- teens join forces in foolishness. Think about it...most teen crimes are done in groups. Most -lone- teens don't have enough 'nerve' to pull off most crimes. (I say 'most'. The -lone- school-yard gunmen make the biggest headlines, but statistically are a tiny fraction of a small minority, and typically come from demonic backgrounds and motivations.)
Although they do not admit it to their parents, teens -Do- want 'boundaries'. Guess why? It shows them that their parents "care". But, back to Tuesday's commentary, that means "spending time" with them, parents. Your teens will not admit it to you, usually, but with all this peak performance of their bodies, and brains not yet fully 'fine-tuned' they are floundering. Lost. They -need- you to give them direction. And with their hormones 'exploding' you need to be firm in enforcing it. You need to see to it that they obey you. Remember... do you truly -LOVE- them? Then you will see to their welfare. You will not issue a command, and then when they rebel, 'listen' to them, and then 'cave in' (as experts of society would have you do). No. Stand firm. Remember, it has been said that your child's view of God is their view of you. God does not change. (Mal3:6) Neither should you; unless you were wrong. If you were wrong, admit it. But if not, stick to your guns. Again, remember, you are dir ecting your children away from God's "wrath" (Eph6:4) and nurturing them in the precepts of the Lord. (Deu6:7)
Thus, God's wisdom:
Children... obey your parents.