Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:12-13 NIV)
As our oldest daughter enters her teen years, we are learning what every parent of a teenager is learning: love. It can be so hard at times to maintain our high standards and expectations for her life, especially when she seems to be often falling short of them. The easy thing would be to lower those expectations, but that is scary too. Everything always gets back to love doesn’t it?
Paul reminds us to have compassion. Being a teenager is one of the most difficult and dangerous passages of life, and we need to remember that. Our compassion for our teen is to be coupled with kindness. One of the most challenging things about parenting a teen is that at the very stage in life where they seem to be messing up the most and needing the most correction, it is also the very time in life when they need the most encouragement and praise. As a child, they knew they were great, both in our eyes and to the world. They’re not so sure of that anymore and we need to be their greatest fans.
The need for patience and forgiveness in our home has never been greater. We’re learning to smile more at our daughter and yell more at God. And when we remember how God graced us in our teens (let alone as adults), we gain the perspective we need. Of course the correction and coaching will continue, but our greatest desire is that our daughter knows that regardless of the score today, we are on her team. Love your teen!