Single Parents: 10 Things Teens need to hear from you. As this month draws to an end it is a big one for me and some special little ladies. My daughters are crossing major teen milestones as one enters college while the other gets a license to drive. For the last decade I have been a part-time, single dad. As most single dads know, without significant quality time with their children, it’s more challenging to have a lasting impact. So while a few days a week and every other weekend doesn’t seem much, the quality time can be created to impact their lives.
As teens, my daughters are starting to take more control of their lives. As such, I wanted to give them something of substance that I have learned over the years, living out my life in peace and being more mindful and intentional of future outcomes. 10 Things Teens need to hear. I am sure many items could be added to this list but these are the highlights that have served me well over the years.
10 Things Teens need to hear from you
1. Honor your mother and father so it may be well with you (Ephesians 6:3). There is a certain blessing with honoring your parents even when you feel they are clueless. While some either don’t have parents or the lack of one or the other, or have strained relationships, or don’t respect them for poor decision they made, it works regardless on the parental position. I have truly lived a blessed life in honoring my parents the best I could with what I had been given. Don’t discount any advice they give, however you may need to park it. Dad gave me some great advice back in the 90’s that I wasn’t ready to hear then, which is useful today. Mom introduced me to Jesus and that acceptance has paid dividends for years.
2. Enjoy the journey (Proverbs 3:5–6). Some parts will find you standing on the beach or at the top mountain seeing the most incredible things. Others will find you stalled at the intersection of life. There is always something to enjoy no matter where you are. The key is your mindset going into and coming out of each journey. Always go in and out with thanksgiving while trusting God to work his promises for you as you go.
3. Choose to be ok, with not knowing (Romans 8:28). There are so many things you will never know. People may love or hate you for no reason. Sometimes things happen that can’t be explained. Know that everything is in God’s hands and it’s not your job to be God as he works all things together for your good. Your job is to manage your own thoughts, emotions, and actions.
4. Each day is its own world (Psalm 118:24).
What you did yesterday can’t be changed, tomorrow is unknown, but today has a world of possibilities. Don’t forsake today at the cost of tomorrow. Forget what’s behind and give today your best. My mom often recites this:
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
After 40 years of hearing it, I finally figured out it was a poem by C.T. Studd. Do something today for someone else as it will change today into incredible.
5. Live with God rather than for God (Ephesians 2:10). You were created for relationship with God. Everything about your humanity screams relationship. Some will assume it’s fulfilled by others, by things, by careers, but the longing still remains. Only a relationship with God will resolve what is happening internally and change the external surroundings.The cool part is that the God of the universe is not sitting out in the audience of your life but is engaged daily with you. His desire is to know you intimately. The other stuff, successes or failures, will work themselves out as you draw close in friendship and relationship with God.
6. Own who you are today, and plot a course for who you want to become (Jeremiah 29:11).There’s no going back. Own who you are now and plot a course for the things that can push you in the direction of who you want to be. If you don’t like something in yourself, the good news is that it can be changed. Through daily prayer and small steps you can be the person you want to be, but more importantly the person God intended you to be. Don’t settle for living someone else’s life or dream. When you get overwhelmed with the weight of wanting to change but it seems impossible, take it back to one small step and trust God with the rest. All you can do is show up and do what you can do as God works in you to fulfill his purpose (Philippians 2:12-13).
7. You have something to offer the world (Psalm 139:13-16). God has given you many special abilities/gifts to fulfill a special purpose. Your life has meaning. It was written into the fabric of time before your birth. God knew your purpose, success, failures, actions, inactions, loves, and losses you would experience. Regardless, he overwhelming chose you to be part of creation.
8. You are deeply loved and are not alone (1 John 3:17)
They key is that no matter what happens, I am standing with my girls. Standing doesn’t mean accepting poor actions or behavior. It says that regardless of where you are at, I am dedicated to you not only with my words, but with actions.
9. There is a pattern for making decisions, learn it early practice it often (Colossians 3:17).
We all toil over decisions. There is a pattern I have found to make every decision: do research, pray, get Godly counsel, rest, and then decide. Make the best decision you can with the information you have, give thanks, and leave the rest up to god.
10. Be intentional about your life (Luke 14: 28-30).
You have to do things on purpose. There are no good excuses and “I didn’t know” runs its course quickly. You can’t allow poor choices or bad outcomes to influence who you are, what you become, or how you feel. Yes, there is work in being intentional.
Most great things in life happen through intentionality. It looks less like sitting watching TV and more like digging a ditch in 100 degree weather.
Starting to be intentional means loving God, loving others, reading the bible, choosing integrity, living out your faith in service. Finally, part of being intentional is bringing others into your life. Find a mentor. If I could go back to 16 again, I would choose to find a mentor that was everything I wanted to be and more.
As parents, there are so many things we can pass onto our children. The key these days is to keep it short, sweet, and easy to understand. This list really can’t be told, it has to be lived out. My hope is that my daughters see these lived out over the last decade and continually in the future as we all grow into God purpose and plan. 10 Things teens need to hear.