I am a trained youth worker.
I know most of the theories of adolescent development.
I have worked with all kinds of youth from all kinds of backgrounds.
You would think that being a parent of teenagers would therefore be easy.
Being a youth worker is completely different to being a parent.
A few months ago I wrote a reflection on the realization that parenting teenagers is fundamentally about a clash of Kingdoms. My realization was that parenting teenagers is about stepping into, and not avoiding the right kinds of conflict.
Leeanne and I committed ourselves to seeking first the Kingdom of God in every area of our lives when we we were married, and that commitment (based on Matthew 6:33) has been the foundation of our marriage and family. That doesn’t mean we have got it right all the time.
Knowing that we are meant to seek first the Kingdom in our parenting doesn’t automatically mean we know how. Our life has been a constant journey of facing our blind spots and learning what our original commitment actually means.
As a Pastor I realise that one of the qualifications for leadership in the church is that:
4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.
(1 Timothy 3:4 NIV)
So what does it mean to manage my family well and see that my children obey me?
If my 18 year old son refuses to do what he is told, does that mean that I am no longer able to be a pastor?
As a family, we have read out Paul’s pattern for a healthy family a number of times:
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
(Ephesians 6:1-4 NIV)
I quite like the first three verses, I’m less excited about the fourth.
Over the past couple of weeks a book that I didn’t want to like has helped give me a clearer vision of what it means to lead my family in a way that takes Matthew 6:33, 1 Timothy 3:4 and Ephesians 6:1-4 all seriously.
The book is called Creating a Culture of Honour by Danny Silk.
The reason I didn’t want to like the book is that Silk is pastor from Bethel church. Bethel is one of those mega-churches that lots of people visit and quote.
I’m not sure if it’s because I am an Australian, or simply because I am immature, but when it comes to something that lots of people think is special, I am pre-disposed to look for what is wrong rather than what is right.
I have a sense that God takes particular delight in challenging my prejudice by teaching me through Danny Silk’s book. Continue reading