Currently, in the Sargent household we have 3 teenagers but in just a couple of weeks that will all change as my oldest turns 20! It is hard to imagine that my wife and I are at this stage of our lives. Seems like yesterday when we were bringing our first born home from the hospital. Time waits for no man and unless we recognize the stages of life, time will pass us by and we will not capitalize on the importance of each segment of life. There are lessons to be learned in every season, some good and some bad, but necessary none the less.
As a parent every stage is important. The things my teenagers are being taught currently could not have been taught to them when they were 5 or 6. It would have been impossible for them to comprehend at that moment in their lives. But now, lessons that will sustain and guide them as they grow older are being taught and hopefully they are being grasped. However, sometimes as a parent you have to put on your teachers hat and instruct as life reveals difficult assignments everyone must face. To ignore these moments is to ignore the incredible opportunity we have been given as parents to shape and govern the trajectory of our child’s life.
There are many lessons that must be taught. Things such as: the importance of faith, wholeheartedly loving and living for God, the quality of human life, respecting others, understanding the value of our time, talent and treasure etc… The list goes on but each is as important as the other in the development of our kids. This all hit home recently in a decision my wife and I made with our kids when it comes to cars and driving. Yes, we are at that stage – two of our kids are now driving!!! (Can someone say INSURANCE COSTS?!!!)
We have told our kids that if they want to purchase a vehicle, they must save half of the money needed to buy the vehicle and whatever they save would be matched by us. Now you must understand something – my middle daughter who is 17 IS A SAVER!! She socks it away like crazy. This is great but BAD when she reminds us often how much she has been saving for a car. All I see are dollar signs flashing as I begin to compute my end of the deal and realize I better do something quick or we are in trouble….
These type of decisions and guidelines sound great when they are 11 and don’t have ways to get much money but now, when she is 17, I may have to sell my other arm to match the offer I made. I thought I was being clever and teaching them a valuable lesson, and I was but now I have to keep my end of the bargain. So, I have decided to sell my truck and get me something used and reliable to get around and find something for her that will get her from point A to point B without breaking down on the side of the road. Of course she is excited and I’m nervous but such is the stage of the life we are in right now. I have learned as a parent I must keep my end of the bargain – it teaches me a valuable lesson as well as my kids.
Each stage brings new fears as well as new joys as we see God work in the lives of our children. I want to continue to guide them through life by providing wisdom and mercy. They will not always make the right decisions but I must recognize these moments as opportunities I can leverage to teach the valuable lessons necessary to become what God has destined for them to become. This is tough but it is important!
And they say parenting is a piece of cake……….