This is my second post in a series on the book Growing With by Kara Powell and Steve Argue and covers my thoughts from chapter two. You can read the first post here.
I appreciate Kara and Steve’s honesty. They are clear though-out the book that they have made their mistakes as parents. As a parent, I can appreciate that kind of honesty. As an author myself, I also know that if you can admit your mistakes in print, you have probably have a bunch more you can’t or shouldn’t admit.
As a youth pastor for thirty years, I can tell you the number one barrier I’ve seen parents run into to getting help, is shame. This is especially true for Christian parents who have come to believe that having problems and sharing their problems is an admission that they are not good parents or are not in God’s will. This could not be further from the truth.
The second barrier I’ve seen keep parents from getting help is pride. One again, an admission of needing help is somehow construed as an admission of failure. I can understand this. My though has been, “I must have made this mess, so I must fix it, alone.” So we keep our problems a secret, never getting help and the problem only gets worse.
News Flash: We all have problems! Whether you’re Christians, atheists or Muslims, no one is exempt from family issues. Have you read the Bible? From Cain and Able to Jesus and his brothers, we all have family issues and to have them does not mean we’re in some gross sin and God is punishing us.
Healthy families require hard work and growing with our kids requires that we leave behind our old ideas of what it means to be a perfect parent.
There’s a great quote in the book,
“Growing with parenting means that we must put aside our selective past memories or attempts to control our kids’ future dreams. Instead, our kids need us most in the present. And that requires a new parenting vision.”
I think a lot about my kids when they were young and where was I as a parents. I tried my best to be in the moment, which was much easier before smart phones, but I know I missed a bunch. I see pictures of my kids on the fridge and try to remember what they were like and if I was a good parent during that time.
Part of being present means recognizing where our teens and young adults are in their journey. Kara and Steve have framed these phases of growing up as Learners, Explorers and Focusers. By defining where they are we can take on our role for what they need at that stage.
Learners, 13-18 are defined as those who are figuring out what it means to live inside these growing adolescent bodies.
Explorers, 18-23, are emerging adults. This may include them heading off to college, moving into their own place or even joining the military. They are looking to find what it means to be an adult, hence the term #adulting.
Focusers, 23-29, are trying to land on the path that best fits them. They are focusing on careers, relationships and beliefs.
At each of these stages, our kids need us to grow with them. If our kids are learners, they need us to be teachers. If our kids are explorers, they need us to be guides. If our kids are focusers, they need us to be resources.
The book breaks down every phase our kids are growing into and every role we should assume to help them through that phase.Many parents still try to be teachers when their kids are explorers. As our kids grow, they need us to grow and put aside our old roles for new ones.
This is not just a book about stages and stats. This is book about affirmation. This book is not telling you that what you are doing wrong as a parent, it’s a book that affirms you as a parent and encourages us all to grow with our kids so we do not get stuck in a parenting pattern our kids have outgrown.
I love how they end this chapter.
No one loves you child like you do
You are the right parent for your child
You have what it takes to be the best parent for your kid
God loves you. God loves your kid. God loves your family and is, as Psalm 46:1 says
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Don’t let pride or shame keep you from growing as a parent. You kids need you to grow with them. Don’t let anything stand in your way of helping them. God stands ready to walk with you.
Grab your copy of Growing With here and start your journey of growing with your child.