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Monday, February 6, 2017

Intentional Parenting For When Your Kid Turns 13

In 2013 I read an article by Practical Shepherding that detailed the authors attempt to disciple his son who had just turned 13 by taking him on a short trip. That article stuck in my mind. Shortly after that Carrie and I had a conversation and decided that when our boys turned 13, I would take them on a trip, just the 2 of us. We would go have some fun, but the main goal was for me to have a chance to initiate discussion about how they could be a man that glorifies God. 

I know so many families that have young boys and so I thought it may be helpful if I wrote out my conversation topics. I apologize for those of you who have girls, I don't have any, so this is all written for boys. Maybe my brother-in-law who has 3 girls  (one who will be turning 13 here in a few weeks) can take on that topic. 

When your kids are little you have complete control over their lives, but as their teenage years approach, you being to lose control, but if you shepherd them correctly, you will start to gain influence. As my control begins to diminish I am striving by God's grace to increase my influence.  
I have 4 topics I want to discuss with each of my boys:
  1. Protect- I Peter 3:1-7- as men we are called to protect our wives and family. Although he is just entering his teenage years, he is already forming his view of women and his role with them. He can check to make sure doors are locked, that he is looking out for his Mom, that he values the image of God revealed in women. I want to create his instincts to be ready to sacrifice self for people around him.
  2. Provide- Genesis 1-2, I Timothy 5:8- Men were made for work, and to care for our families physical and emotional needs. His role right now is to work hard at school, on his basketball team, his chores, etc. He needs to develop a strong work ethic now so that in the future he will have what it takes to support his family and meet their needs. He also needs to recognize that others have more than just financial needs. A healthy relationship is based not on money, but on supporting the concerns, dreams, and details of someones life. This process is something we need to learn before we get into dating and marriage relationships. 
  3. Lead- Ephesians 5:22-33- we are love our wives and Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. This is sacrificially serving others. Let me just say, this doesn't come naturally, and it is my role as parent to help foster this in my boys. They learn to do this by making choices that don't just benefit themselves. I want to him to lead with confidence, but also with grace and patience. He needs to be able to look at the people around him and be willing to choose what is best for them and not what is best just for him. 
  4. Be Holy- Proverbs 5- this passage will give me a chance to talk to him about protecting his heart and mind. Our world is full of sexual impurity and pornography. It tells us to satisfy every urge, that nothing is off limits. But God has a different view and commands us to be pure. I want my boys to not only be pure, but to lead the people God brings into their lives in purity as well. 
So tomorrow, Caleb and I will begin our trip. We head to MI to surprise my brother for his 40th birthday.  I am completely unequipped to be the parent of a teen on my own, but I am grateful that God promises all the grace I need for every situation. I am looking forward to seeing Caleb continue to grow in grace, and I look forward to this season of life. These topics are meant to start a conversation, they can't be the whole thing. I want him to realize I want to talk about what is on his heart, and I want to help shepherd him into the man God wants him to become. I would appreciate your prayers for the trip!