Raising Teenagers

“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40: 30-31

Every phase of raising children is a joy and a challenge at the same time: a time for us to grow as parents and people. Many of the lessons we are teaching our children have lessons for us as adults. Each phase allows our children to take one more step away from us and help them discover who they truly are separate from the family fold. 

The teenage phase can be fraught with problems and challenges for both parents and teenagers. I often find myself trying to remember what I was like as a teenager, but can I really relate to where my own teenagers are at in this day and age? 

My husband and I have felt hugely challenged in recent years, not just by our teenagers, but not helped by moving countries a few times and the emotional turmoil of teenage angst. 

Reasons for the problems that have arisen between parents and teenagers vary greatly for each family since each situation is different. However, there are a few common areas I have found, when talking to friends in similar situations, where teenagers and parents find conflict. 

Asserting Independence:
Our teenagers want to control their own lives and not have parents telling them what to do. But keeping the balance between letting our children make their own choices and keeping them safe is like walking a very long tight rope. 

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We Need The Needles

These days the textile arts seem to be the Lord’s preferred vessel for lessons He wants to share with me. In my last article, I wrote about how knitting a scarf for my son helped me process the pain of pregnancy loss. Recently, I have been trying my hand at needle felting, and once again this simple act of creation has provided some clarity I’ve really needed, which I would like to share with you. 

Needle felting is a comfortingly uncomplicated process. One simply has to stab wool with a sharp needle until the fibers bind together into the desired shape. It certainly requires some practice and skill to craft felted creations of any detail and it is very easy to poke yourself if you’re not careful, but the essential process really is just stabbing wool repeatedly. 

It doesn’t stretch my imagination much to identify with that fledgling tuft of wool. That’s really how we start out, isn’t it? Shapeless. In need of direction and purpose. Being in a soft and fuzzy newborn state is lovely, but we aren’t supposed to linger there for long. I love that the term used for loose wool fibers is “roving” wool, as if the fluff could wander off or get lost if Someone didn’t do something with it. As if it were made to be gathered together into something new. 

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Lenten Legacy

Editor’s Note: This article was written by my Mom, Margie Echols, in March 2006. She wrote it for The Glendale New Church newsletter that year. I am one of the homeschooling kids she mentions in the later part of the article. I don’t remember what I gave up that year (I think it was either TV or chocolate), but I do remember it made a big impact on me! It’s been useful to re-read this article as I prepare to focus on Lent this year with my kids.

Growing up in a family of eight children with a New Church minister for a father, and a 3rd generation New Church minister’s daughter for a mother, I pretty much felt sure of what made up a distinctive New Church lifestyle. I was taught this by both of my parents and it was heartily reinforced by my older siblings, in their zeal to shepherd us younger ones along. Our dad trained all of the teachers to instill New Church principles along with the Bible stories they taught to us kids in Sunday School.

I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I was prideful in my certitude that I knew what comprised a New Church person’s life. And a Lent Sacrifice certainly was NOT included, in my early view. In fact, when my childhood friends in public school did give up certain foods or privileges for Lent, I felt quite sorry for them. I did not think any religion should require a little child to give up meat, or going to the movies, or anything at all. It made me feel very separated from my friends, because I knew they must be suffering from a wrong understanding of the one God over us all.

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Pondering on the Pandemic

Every community in heaven is growing in numbers daily, and the more it grows, the more perfect it becomes. In this way … heaven in general is perfected … since these communities constitute heaven. Heaven’s ever-increasing fullness makes it more perfect. So angels long for nothing more than to have new angel guests arrive there.Heaven and Hell 71

So many, many people have died since Covid-19 knocked the whole world off balance. Some say these Covid deaths were ‘before their time’, but I think they’ve just been part of achieving the Lord’s ultimate purpose – for heaven to grow and be more perfected. 

The Lord knows when it’s the right time for each one of us to move from this world to the next. It does not happen until that time, regardless of how it seems, or how hard it is for those left behind.

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