Lessons My Teenager Taught Me
My oldest son has just graduated from high school. In just a few short months he’ll be headed off to college. As a mom, I hope he will use the important lessons I’ve taught him over the years. But more surprising to say is that I hope I will use the lessons he has taught me!! Here are a few of my favorites:
#1 Don’t worry about what others think of you.
Always be yourself. God made us who we are for a reason. I believe my son learned this early on from a favorite Sunday School teacher. As each child was leaving her classroom, she would take them by the shoulders, look them straight in the eye and say, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” A visiting pastor at our church said Sunday, “We are ONLY what God knows we are!” Thankfully we don’t have to worry about what the world thinks. My son has shown me how he lives daily only to please God.
#2 The clothes you wear don’t make you a good or bad Christian.
What we choose to wear doesn’t determine our salvation or our love for God. For years, I had dressed my boys in khakis and brown boots or loafers for church. As they developed their own style and started choosing their clothes for worship, my oldest leaned more toward jeans, graphic t-shirts (always a God-centered graphic) and high-tops. So as a conservative mom, I still wished he would go back to wearing his khakis and button down shirts.
We were visiting my parents in Georgia last November when my dad suddenly passed away. Our family had to quickly plan a service for my him, and also get clothes together to wear. Not wanting to spend the extra money for dress shoes that the boys already had back home and hardly ever wear, I just told the boys to dress comfortably. My oldest wore his usual to the grave-side service–jeans and high-tops.
My mom had asked him to read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 from the Bible during the service. He loved his granddaddy so much and read that verse in a loud, strong voice. My dad would have been so proud of him. I was so proud of him. So what if he didn’t look like most of the other guys there dressed in their khakis and button-down shirts with loafers. I finally got it that day. God doesn’t see those things. He sees only our hearts. My son has a heart for God. Who cares what he is wearing!
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart'” (1 Samuel 16:7)
#3 Don’t over think things.
Growing up, I don’t remember seeing my mom upset or stressed very often. That’s not to say she was never worried about things. I think she just hid it from us well. As homeschoolers, my boys see me being pretty real. Of course, I definitely don’t share everything, but they pick up on some of my day-to-day stresses more.
The month of May is usually jam-packed with wrapping up our classes, getting grades finalized, and attending a ton of end of the year school events. This year was even busier with graduation as the main focus. As I was preparing for graduation, and getting the house ready for our family to come stay, I was a little on edge. I was doing a hundred things at once trying to make the house look perfect, decide on the food we would have, and who should sleep where, and on and on. My son hugged me and said, “Mom, don’t over think things. Everything will be fine.” He told me to relax and read my Bible. Whew! I needed to hear that! Slow down–things will fall into place!
#4 Don’t define yourself by what you’re NOT, define yourself by what you ARE.
This lesson I learned is a direct quote from my son. The picture below is a screen shot from his Snapchat account. I learn a lot of things from his snaps. 😉 It is our human nature to dwell on our faults, our failures. These things do not make us the person that we were made to be. God made us. We are ONLY what God knows we are! We are valuable because God loves us. So in our lives, and in our relationships, we should always strive to push away those thoughts that bring us down. Our lives should be lived out remembering that God made us — and we are GOOD!!
I’m thankful for the lessons I’ve learned! And I’m amazed that they were taught by my teenager!! God is still shaping and making me. I look forward to the lessons I will learn in the future from my boys!
What lessons have your children taught you? I’d love to hear about them. Please let me know in the comment section below.