“We are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared” 1 John 3:2
Raising a teen is a humbling experience. But humility is exactly what God wants to teach us parents, and it’s what he’s teaching our teens through us.
Before adolescence, children learn what to think. In adolescence, teens learn how to think. The academic term for that is critical thinking, but the Bible calls it humility.
For a teen to develop critical thinking they must set aside their own beliefs and evaluate how they, and other people, think and feel. Learning to do this in a constructive way is essential to developing a lifelong appetite for truth.
As parents, this puts us in a difficult spot. Our teen’s beliefs have been shaped by ours. That means the first beliefs they will critically evaluate are the ones we taught them.
This is happening already as our teens reflect on their own beliefs. But we usually don’t see it until our teens challenge us. So, how do we react when that happens?
Like it or not, my teen sees my humility, or lack of it, in how I react to things I disagree with. Does my reaction say I’m satisfied with what I know? Or do I show a hunger for truth and a desire to learn, even from my teen?
Aren’t Christian parents supposed to have all the answers? Thank God, no!
Rather, the answers we do have help us live with the answers we don’t.
In the verse above, the Apostle John gently reminds us we are still learning from our Heavenly Father. We don’t have all the answers because we can’t even imagine what they are!
But then he tells us what we do know: “we know that when he appears we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2). Whatever that is, it will happen because God has made us his children through Christ and his life, death and resurrection for us.
I am God’s child, and yet every time I sin I challenge what he has told me. But my Heavenly Father responds to my sin by reminding me who I am, and that he is accomplishing something I can’t even comprehend.
My teens are smart, but they’re also proud. They work hard to develop their critical thinking, but they need to learn humility.
God is teaching me humility through my teens. When that humility shows through in my reactions, he uses it to teach them humility, too.
That’s what God is doing, even if I can’t comprehend how!