Attention! If you’re a parent…Read This. If you want to be a parent…Read This. If you don’t think you’ll ever be a parent…Read this. Yup, that sums it up.
Seriously, this post was so long that I broke it up into 3 sections. Hopefully that doesn’t bore you, but you REALLY need to read all the way through.
Ready or not, here it comes! Those teenage years are just around the corner for our first born, and to be quite honest with you, I’m terrified!
Why am I terrified you ask?
For starters, unless you’re one of my parents or sisters you weren’t lucky enough to experience the pain and anxiety I inflicted on my parents as a teenager (Mom and Dad, I am sincerely sorry, there is no way I could ever repay you). When I remember back to who I was, and what I was doing at 12 years old I shudder to think that my son could be involved in the same diabolical schemes of the Devil. I certainly wasn’t the worst kid out there, but I most definitely was not the best. Praise God that my conversations with our son and observations I’m made have revealed that he is nothing like me!! Anyway, moving on…
I can’t even believe “teenager” is coming out of my mouth, the first 12 years have flown by so quickly. It doesn’t seem like he should be this old, just yesterday he was graduating pre-school! Man I feel old!
As we approach this stage of life, I’m simply terrified.
Terrified that he’ll make bad decisions like I did, terrified that he’ll walk away from the Lord like I did, terrified that the world will get to him like it did me, terrified that I might not make it through these formative years. Yes, I’m concerned for my own health! (selfish I know) I know that these years are majorly formative for him, but if I don’t have a major meltdown mid-flight, my nerves will be made of steel when we get through this.
But you know what? God has not given us a spirit of fear! So I need to not be so afraid…yeah yeah, easier said than done.
In reality, even though the uncertainty makes me nervous for what is coming, I have to Praise God because he has given us an amazing son. He knows the Lord, he loves the Lord, and when I compare him to myself, I am grateful that he is so grounded in his faith, unlike his father during the same stage of life.
Now Let’s be real
I know he will make poor choices, he will fall, he will struggle, and he will have to learn lessons the hard way, regardless of all of that, I know that he does NOT have to walk through this alone. With the Lord as his guide, he will be able to navigate through everything the world can throw at him and, not that God needs my help, but I can be there at his side to help him walk through this crazy time in his life.
Knowing that we need to be careful in how we guide him through this part of his life, my wife and I decided to take a very intentional step in helping our young man start these teenage years.
For that step we decided to take him through some kind of program that would create a foundation for the life experiences he’s going to encounter in the coming years. Of course, his relationship with God needs to be the whole foundation on which he’ll grow, but we didn’t really know where to start, what to talk about and how to talk about it, so we wanted a little help from something structured. I mean, why not use the experience, intelligence, and Godly wisdom that other people have used throughout the years.
I have read and heard about several different programs that are designed to help facilitate conversations, frame topics of discussion, and lead pre-teens and their parents through this pivotal stage of life, and finding such a program that was built on the foundation of God’s Word was key for us.
During a visit to the Focus on the Family visitor’s center I came across this small box sitting on a shelf that said “Passport to Purity” on the front. I’ve heard numerous conversations on the radio about the program which was created several years ago by the great people over at Family Life. (Led by Dennis and Barbara Rainey this team has put together a top notch program! and no, I did not receive anything in return for the blog LOL) As I read the summary on the box I realized this program seemed to fit exactly what we needed. So with great anticipation we bought the program (which is actually very inexpensive).
Hello, my name is Ben and I am a procrastinator, (Everyone say “Hi Ben”)…
So after a more than a year (sad I know) of collecting dust and months of talking about doing the program, we finally took the time to do what we set out to do, and to be honest with you, it was life changing, for both of us!
The program is geared for youth between ages 9 and 13, and when it comes to my procrastination, well let’s just call it perfect timing for his maturity level and my readiness to approach the topics covered…Ok, ok, there is no excuse for procrastination. Anyway, the timing of the program was absolutely in line with his maturity level. Every pre-teen is different, so you need to pick the time that fits best for your child.
The whole premise of this program is to provide a structured and guided discussion through many of the hot button issues that every teenager is going to experience, and to have this discussion with your pre-teen before the world gets to them, because you know where the world is going to lead them…
The program comes with a guide for your pre-teen, a guide for you, and a set of CD’s that you listen to during the program. There are activities throughout the program which help support the topics (even if you think they seem corny, DO THEM, don’t skimp on this piece, they really do a great job illustrating the topics and your child will enjoy them). Again with the procrastination…there is some prep work for you to do in this program so make sure to take the time to do this more than a week before the program…Guilty Here!!
Ok, there’s so much more and I really want to continue but there is too much for now. Check back in tomorrow and take a look at Part 2 of this series. God Bless!