fifteen years of blessings

July 23, 2010

One of my favorite young people celebrated her fifteenth birthday yesterday.  She is remarkably normal in so many way, and remarkably remarkable in others.  She gets along with her parents some days, and other days, not at all.  She get great grades and horrible ones at the same time.  In other words, she is a pretty normal teen.

On the other hand, she cares more deeply about social justice,  lost and disenfranchised people than most adults I know.  She is more willing to go to bat for the underdog than anyone I know.  And she is not afraid to fight for that in which she believes.  (I pray that she works hard at developing a strong sense of exactly for whom and what she will choose to fight, but she is after all just fifteen.)

Without the least fear of misunderstanding, I prayed blessing on her all day yesterday.  And it reminded me that most days I could do worse than to pray blessings over those I love.  So I will try to remember to do that.  I’ll try to remember you, too.  But don’t be shy about reminding me.

So my young friend has provided a good many frustrations for those who love her.  But much more than that she has provided fifteen years of blessings on her parents, ten years worth for me.  I hope you are reminded today of the blessings you get from your children.  Even in the midst of your biggest challenges with your child, remember the blessings.  It may help you form the most appropriate response  to the issue.

Filicide is rarely the answer.

Most people of my age remember at least part of the song, Count Your Blessings. With children, especially teen children, this seems to be a good precursor to punishment.  Oh, for sure, punishment is often necessary.  Strong, intelligent discipline is essential to raising kids with character.  But counting our blessings helps us discipline with love.  And discipline with love is a valuable tool.

So, bring out the stocks and pillory, but not the gallows.  Use solitary confinement, but not lethal injections.  (I’m talking about your children here, not social justice.  That’s for another time.)  And if you count your blessings, then you can truly say, “This is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you.”  and you will probably be correct.

Also when you count the blessings you will be disciplining based on a hope and a future, rather than just frustration.

This really didn’t start out as a discussion of discipline, so it won’t end that way.  I have been blessed more than most, certainly more than I deserve.  Not only by this fifteen-year-old, but her entire family.  So even as I wait for something big to happen in my life, I will count my blessings, and be glad.

I think that’s the perspective I needed today.

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2 Responses to “fifteen years of blessings”

  1. Her mother said

    Read this one with the 15 year old’s Dad. Timely, powerful, touched our hearts and left a lump in my throat. You are a gifted writer … believe it! Thank you for praying for her … thank you, thank you, thank you.

  2. Anna said

    Hmmm, that girl fifteen year old girl…wow, she sounded pretty dang special. Well duh, oh wait i think i might know why…Just kidding, kinda. I love ya Pastor Tim. Thanks, one of my best birthday gifts….EVER

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