Friday, February 04, 2005

father of a teenager?

It's true - I'm officially old. My son entered "teendom" this week. At first it didn't seem so bad. After all, he's a great kid. But after a little bit of reflection, it hit me sort of like an equation from Geometry class. Something along the lines of:

son is a teenager + I am his father = I am the father of a teenager = I am old.

OK, so maybe the math isn't too good. Geometry was not one of my better subjects back in the day. Which, coincidentaly was a long time ago. Remember, I'm old.

I have lots of life and experiences ahead of me, and so does my son. There are a couple of realities that have occurred to me this week.

First, have I been a good dad? I suppose that's a question that lots of people ask (actually, I wish more people would ask that question). How have I done? Have I instilled in him the things he needs most from a dad?

Second, is his "molding" process over? Some say that by the early teen years, most of us have developed beliefs, attitudes, and worldviews that we'll take with us into adulthood. Most who commit their lives to Christ do so before the age of 14. After that, there's only a 10% chance that you'll ever make a decision of that magnitude. Fortunately, I know a lot of folks who fit into that 10%.

I suppose one of the unknowns of parenthood is, well, how are you doing? I'll stick with my simple rule that seems to be working - love my kids. Unconditionally and without question. Love them. Will they make great decisions all the time? No. Will they be perfect now and in the future? Probably not. I'm privy to the genes they inherited, so I'm confident there's plenty of "blow it" genes in the mix.

But will they know that their dad loved them and couldn't wait to see what God had in store for their lives? You bet. Many parents may be trying to give their kids the whole world. Perhaps all they really need is to know they're loved.

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