Know you are!
There is an insidious epidemic ravaging the families of America today. It is corrupting our young people, frustrating parents, and leading to terrible consequences. That epidemic…
MySpace! Just kidding. And I’m not talking about drugs, school violence, teen sexual behavior, self-injury, domestic violence, divorce, fatherlessness, or golden parachutes, either, although these are all awful. (How did that last one get in there?)
The epidemic is that many parents have lost their nerve. They no longer believe they are the authority in the home. They no longer lead with an underlying knowledge that their children/teens must live with a healthy “fear” of them, not the other way around. These parents (which are increasingly becoming the American norm) don’t believe they have what it takes. They are frustrated, scared, resentful, confused, or sometimes just outright hopeless. And they are desperately looking to the overwhelming landscape of “parenting experts” for help. Authors, therapists, talk show hosts, anyone who seems to have the secret – just someone who can help turn the ship around.
Day after day and week after week these parents come to my office seeking the right communication tools, or the correct disciplinary techniques, or just someone who can “fix” their unruly adolescent. I believe effective communication is essential to healthy parenting and family life. Strong, clear, consistent discipline is critical. Understanding their kids without being freaked out by them or their passions is a must. But many of these parents need to make a more fundamental shift before any of these tools will make much real difference for them.
They need to believe in themselves. They need to believe they have what it takes to lead with authority, courage, and conviction. They need to believe they are the authority, simply because they are the parents and God made it that way. They need to quit waiting on respect or obedience from their kids, because it’s going to be a long and miserable wait, until they decide to start leading with authority.
I love the movie “The Matrix,” which was a brilliant sci-fi allegory of faith. Check it out for yourself, it’s great! In an early scene, Morpheus (the prophet figure) is training Neo (the savior figure), while the rest of their crew are excitedly watching. They are fighting within a computer generated world where the laws of physics don’t exactly apply, as long as you believe you can defy these laws. It is all very new and overwhelming for Neo, who is just struggling not to take a beating. Morpheus insistently tells him he is faster than this, and then makes this profound statement…
“Don’t think you are. Know you are!”
This proves to be a critical turning point in Neo’s journey to realizing his full powerful created purpose. Parents, don’t wish you are the strong, healthy authority in your home. Don’t hope you are. Don’t even just think you are…
KNOW YOU ARE!!!