Was reading the daddy's blog tonight, about a young paraplegic who is now suffering the life-long consequence of a single reckless moment pulling a stunt on his motorbike.
"As a father, it certainly does worry me when I think of how D, though just 22-months now, will eventually hit his teenage years. As parents we do our very best to bring our children up to know right from wrong, to be able to exercise some presence of mind and common sense, and to weigh the consequences of their actions before they act. But there is only so much we can do, and beyond that, there is still so much that is out of our hands."
"Yes daddy, I'm being real careful on this wobbly bridge!"
How much can we do?
In Proverbs, we are instructed to "Train up a child in the way he should go, so that when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Thank you Steve Green - thanks to your song this verse will remain etched forever in this mommy's head and heart!).
In a recent Crosswalk newsletter for parents, we are exhorted to be consistent and persistent in doing so. Read more, in "Parenting with a Diligent Hand - Part 1".
But buckling down to the job isn't easy, considering how we're pitting our kids against their biological and neurological programming.
Perhaps it's pure serendipity. Because arriving in my Gmail inbox in this same week, is a Harvard magazine article detailing cutting edge research on adolescent brain development - read "The Teen Brain".
Briefly: Tracing the development of gray and white matter in the brain between age 5 and age 20, Harvard researchers found that teenagers are biologically unable to fully exercise impulse control because of how much "grey matter" there remains during their adolescent years. It apparently explains why your teenage daughter - I paraphrase - can ace that O-level exam, be the school tennis captain and still end up doing something completely stupid like rear-end another vehicle while texting her friend on the mobile phone.
Hmm. Explains the young paraplegic - now paying for something he can't really be blamed for - teenage impulsiveness. For this mom, the Harvard article is scary stuff!
So as much as I tell my kid/s to think before you act, if the science is to be believed, my future teenager/s will only learn what that truly means when they are 20? Yikes.
Yet, my faith compels me to also remember that we are not to live by the flesh (read: our biological and neurological programming), but to live by the Spirit.
And the fruit of the Spirit, from Galatians 5:22-23,
"is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
Food for this parent's thought, for sure. Meantime, to my dear son I'm sorry kid you can forget about riding a motorbike ... ever!