The light turned yellow, then red, and I slowed to a stop. I hung my arm out the window and glanced at a park near the intersection. There, a disheveled mom was chasing a three-foot live wire with a bowl cut. I watched until the car behind me honked.
As I pulled off the line, it hit me: That’s me. My kids are teenagers, but they haven’t stopped running. And I’m still huffing and puffing behind them.
The teenage years seem to cause parents to either chase harder or quit running altogether.
I’m a chaser, through and through.
I like kids. I really do. My whole career centers around them. But I love teenagers. They energize me, make me think, and crack me up. They remind me of a treasured time of my own life and make me want to be young, cool, and popular
I find myself trying to keep up with their pop culture, their fashion trends, and their social media. I clamor to stay current with their lingo, their apps, and their music. I push myself into their circles and hop on their band wagons. And the less they seem to need me, the faster I run.
I want to make sure they’re safe, I said. But after years of no one getting hurt, my motive changed, and my fear turned inward. Fear of becoming out-of-date and irrelevant. Terrified of being left behind and lame.
My kids keep me young, I explain. But youth can’t be my goal. Shouldn’t I be giving them an appetite for time-tested truth more than both of us begging for scraps of what’s new and cool?
“Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.”- Proverbs 19:18
I’ve noticed that it does my kids so much good to be at their grandparents’ houses. Where the wifi is slow and experience is in the driver’s seat. Where they walk at a wise pace and circle-back to well-worn ways. Where they feel immensely loved, yet know without a doubt who’s the boss.
I’ve also noticed I’m not the only one chasing. Everywhere I turn, I see parent chasing child. Fear chasing Frenzy.
Yes, we should relationally pursue our children, just as God pursues us. But we’ve been lured by a world that spins fast, and we’re failing to show our kids a different gear. One that’s fast enough for them to run ahead safely, but slow enough to provide rest, growth, and discipline.
But when the rubber meets the road, our desires to be fun and hip overtake our desire for what’s good. We find ourselves wanting to be young more than we want them to have wisdom. We subtly clamor for their approval more than we point them to God.
When will they learn their humble place in this world if we keep them at the center of ours?
How will they learn to listen if we let them do all the talking?
Who will teach them patience if we allow them to set the pace?
Lord, have mercy.
The ancient paths are dusty, rocky, and rutted. They don’t promise entertainment or fun, but they’ll forever offer the right way and a walk with the Author of rest.
“This is what the Lord says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls. ” Jeremiah 6:16
Our kids just might turn around if we’re humble enough to lag behind. And when they do, may they see us beckoning to the ancient paths…
Where young live-wires become grounded in ruts that are deep and true.
Where Wisdom controls the pace, and being cool takes a back seat to godliness.
Where the Ancient of Days grows us up and changes our fear to freedom.
Do you hear that honking? The light’s green. Have courage.
“Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.” Psalm 25:4