Several weeks ago, I asked my pastor this question…
How do you raise teens to not have an over-developed sense of entitlement?
In a society submerged in excess, I’m tired of the mire and the muck. I want to be above it. I want the same for my children. I know the pressure is great to have all the new electronics, go to all the incredible places, and wear all the latest fashion. I struggle with knowing how to raise my children to be in this world but not of this world.
Careful, creative, and consistent wing clippings.
1) Careful wing clippings. There is nothing my 15-year-old son likes more than to spread his wings. At 6’2″, his wing span takes up a lot of space. At 15 1/2 years of age, though, his wings are not fully developed. He doesn’t have the knowledge, wisdom, or life experience to always make good, informed decisions. His wings are not ready to fly. We are raising a man, though. We want those wings to grow and develop to be strong and to carry him far. Sometimes we have to clip the wayward feathers that are growing to allow his wings the time needed to strengthen and mature. The goal is to clip, not bleed. It’s not always fun. It’s necessary.
2) Creative wing clippings. Let’s face it… even the idea of clipping our children’s wings is daunting. The actual task borders on overwhelming. Gone are the days of a time-out chair or putting them to bed early. With two teens in the house, and one who thinks she is, we’re tired. However, now is the time to be creative. Sometimes a wing-clipping is an extra chore or a fee for forgetting something. Other times, it’s the parents making the unpopular decision to allow their daughter to not attend an event. Either way, the most effective wing clipping is creative. Often the creative wing clippings are the ones most remembered. Two weeks ago, my son forgot his sack lunch for football practice and called begging me to bring him food. The creative wing clipping for forgetting and requiring more of my time… a date. He gave his time and money and bought me lunch out. We had a great time, he learned forgetting his sack lunch is expensive, and neither of us will forget our date.
3) Consistent wing clippings. This is the hardest part for me. Thankfully, God knew my weakness and paired me with a consistent man. Chad can repeat an instruction 20 times without raising his voice or changing his tone. He can clip the same one feather of a wing over and over again without getting frustrated, especially with our littlest one whose has mastered the art of arguing, especially when she thinks she should have something. It’s the “sense of entitlement” feather on our kids wings that seems to grow the fastest. It’s a wild one… never satiated, always wanting more. When we, as parents, are paying attention and are consistent, we can keep that wild feather in check without a lot of trauma or drama. It’s when I let that go, though, that it gets ugly ’round these parts. Consistency is key.
By carefully, creatively, and consistently clipping their wings, rather than giving in to their every fancy, we are strengthening their wings to fly straight and true.
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.