Teenager Lesson #1 -Kids Need to Have a Purpose
This is what you’ll see at our house on any given Monday.
Monday evenings, we open our house to a small group we affectionately named wIrEd. Why? I can’t remember…I think it was because they all used to come in with Monster and RedBull Drinks, but I’m not sure. But it is an appropriately named group, I assure you.
We start out the evening with food and fellowship and then we all head on out to the living room for small group “discussion” time. This can range from various topics the kids want to discuss like friends, dating, or just Bible study. Have you ever tried to cram 20-30 kids into a living room and then try to get them to be serious? NOT an easy feat…
We moved into our house 3 years ago in September, and were in it for about 5 days when we were asked to host this group. Since we had promised God if blessed with a bigger house that we would do so, we answered immediately “yes”. We have never regretted it, not for one minute, except, hmmmmm that time when someone spilled a drink on the staircase. Nahh…come to think of it, lots of drinks have been spilled…but it all cleans up.
I know you’ve seen gourmet style and homecooking on my entries of late. I was even asked by an old friend if we ever ate grilled cheese and tomato soup at our home. So Lisa – here’s the answer.
On the nights we have the youth over, we have to come up with large quantities of food that don’t break our bank. We try to come up with a theme, and have the kids bring something. Hotdogs and baked potato bars are a regular favorite. The kids bring the toppings and sometimes chips and cookies. We like to challenge our kids so we’ve even had kids bring the entire meal and wow, have they done a great job! And wow! They are so proud of themselves too…it’s neat to see! This group of kids are amazing and we always love to challenge them more to see what will blossom out of them.
Lisa – please note the generic hotdog buns…thanks.
Some nights I have them bring cookies, other nights I make them. Betty Crocker bagged cookie mix is my best friend on Mondays. I buy these things by the case when they go on sale. Tonight I made Peanut Butter Pan Cookies with Chocolate frosting (recipe on it’s way!). They went so fast, I had to supplement them with oreos. If they look messy and gooey -you’re right and there’s nothing better than an ooey gooey messy cookie.
Our typical Monday night entails rushing home from work, sometimes stopping at the grocery store and doing a quick vacuum and pick-up of the house, while one of us starts fixing food in the kitchen. We pretty much have this system down and it works really well, especially if Conner and Kayla chip in to help.
Kids start arriving early, like sometimes 45 minutes early, and if they do, they know they can pitch in and help also. You’d think they’d stop showing up early, but actually, they really like to help. Go figure…and keep reading.
Lesson #1 – Teenagers need to feel like they have a purpose. Somewhere between our parents’ generation and ours, we decided that we needed to be more of a friend to our kids instead of parents. We want them to feel understood and loved and …well basically spoiled. The result? Tired, stressed worn-out parents and apathetic teens who expect more than we can give. I know, I’ve been there.
Show me a teenager who’s depressed, rebellious, disrespectful or in trouble and I’ll show you one who has no purpose. Now, let me just say that I do know there are plenty of kids in horrible situations. I’ve heard the stories first hand and they have broken my heart. I do believe though that many kids today have not been taught the basics anymore of how to do chores or have a servant’s heart, and in doing so, we rob them of the joy that comes with doing things well. Just look at Conner willingly doing the weed eating at our house. Well, kinda willingly, because he knows he’s toast if he doesn’t, but willingly just the same.
What parents don’t realize is, that they are raising really poor adults by not teaching them responsibility. One of the first things I do when a young lady comes to me depressed is to ask her what she enjoys or what she’s good at, and I try to get her involved in serving in some way by doing that thing. You can’t imagine the way I’ve seen a youth become a leader simply be feeling like they’re needed for something.
So, lesson for today – give your teenager something to do. No, you won’t be popular at first, but I promise, it’ll get better. Make sure you encourage them when they do a good job. Watch them flower and grow. You’ll never regret it. Remember, someday, they’ll be a dad or mom.
Will they be equipped for it?
Well, okay, when you see that picture, you do wonder….
Lovin teens, one at a time.