Continued from last week The ultimate Father, to whom the hearts of the children must be turned, is God the Father. As we have seen, God’s purpose on this planet is to “make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). God is creating future members of His Family, in the spiritual and character image of God as His literal children. So we parents have a very high calling. Our God is training us as His children in His image! In turn, God is calling us to train and shape our children’s young impressionable minds in His image. This is a lofty goal in a dark and dangerous world. But as a loving parent, God promises that: “”I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper”” (Hebrews 13:5″6). The closer we move to our Father, the more we will in our own lives emulate His qualities as the perfect parent. Every last parent has made mistakes in parenting, but God knows that parents, like their children, are capable of learning and changing. Yes, this is easier said than done, but with God’s guidance there is real hope. If we maintain the guiding principle of rearing children “in God’s image,” we will have all the resources of the Creator God to draw on. If our ultimate goal as parents is to bring up our children “in God’s image,” it will become our guiding light and central theme for everything we do in our family. Our real desire then, becomes the creation of a culture of God within our home. One definition of culture that especially applies is “a particular stage of advancement in civilization” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). In this case, as we advance, it is the “advancement in civilization” of the future Family of God. As parents and grandparents”as for all begotten children of the great God”let us rededicate our lives to turning the hearts of the children to their spiritual Father. This is the ultimate goal and purpose of parenting: to have children “in God’s image.” On another note, but part of the same picture, you’ve lived through 2 AM feedings, toddler temper tantrums, and the back-to-school blues. So why is the word ‘teenager” causing you so much anxiety? When you consider that the teen years are a period of intense growth, not only physically but morally and intellectually, it’s understandable that it’s a time of confusion and upheaval for many families. Despite some adults’ negative perceptions about teens, they are often energetic, thoughtful, and idealistic, with a deep interest in what’s fair and right. So, although it can be a period of conflict between parent and child, the teen years are also a time to help kids grow into the distinct individuals they will become. Understanding the Teen Years So when, exactly, does adolescence start? The message to send your kid is: Everybody’s different. There are early bloomers, late arrivers, speedy developers, and slow-but-steady growers. In other words, there’s a wide range of what’s considered normal. But it’s important to make a (somewhat artificial) distinction between puberty and adolescence. Most of us think of puberty as the development of adult sexual characteristics: breasts, menstrual periods, pubic hair, and facial hair. These are certainly the most visible signs of impending adulthood, but kids who are showing physical changes (between the ages of 8 and 14 or so) can also be going through a bunch of changes that aren’t readily seen from the outside. These are the changes of adolescence.
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