We used to laugh when our teenage kids griped about all they had to do and their lack of peace of mind. What did they have to worry about?
Life was furnished to them—all they had to do was consume it. But that may not be the case anymore.
Today, the pressure on our kids is relentless. The demands are huge—the expectations from home and school are stacked on top of each other.
The stress mess
In their academic world alone, the desire to belong, to be part of the accepted crowd is intense. It might be the world of achievement or the world of the slacker or the performer or the athlete. Whatever group it is, the fear of being embarrassed or rejected can be lethal.
Dad, peace of mind is the perfect prescription for …
▪ when the biggest jerk in the whole school asks your daughter to the prom.
▪ when your son has a 4.0 average and you get on his case about working harder.
▪ when your child has a 1.5 and his “friends” want it that way
▪ when the teacher passes out the exam and your daughter can’t remember the answer to the first question.
▪ when you realize that by the time your kids are ready for college, tuition will equal the national defense budget.
▪ when you promised to help your kids with their list of “Things to do,” and the list is now “Things you wished you had done.”
▪ when your son’s best friend puts the moves on your son’s main squeeze.
▪ when your daughter sees the person of her dreams walking toward her and she suddenly remembers that gigantic zit in the middle of her forehead.
▪ while wearing pants with a rip in the seat, your son went to the blackboard in math class, put on a dance exhibition during lunch, bent over a microscope during biology class, and visited every classroom to promote his candidacy for student council president. (And he wondered why everyone thought his campaign speech was so funny.)
Peace of mind is hard to find these days. This verse by poet Henry Van Dyke contains an important reminder:
Broken at last, I bowed my head,
Forgetting all myself, and said,
‘Whatever comes, His will be done,”
And in that moment, peace was won.
Dad, help find that release valve
Sometimes peace of mind comes when we stop trying to do everything ourselves or when we stop worrying about what others think—when we know in our heart that we’ve done our best.
Dad, reach out your teens when they seem to be restless or irritable. Look for symptoms that may seem unusual, such as excessive daydreaming, not listening, sudden mood swings or a desire to be alone. Offer a listening ear or comforting shoulder. Do not force the issue. Whatever is on your child’s mind is important.
Treat it so.