“Jump, the ropes will catch you if you miss the bar.”

I was just taking a moment to realize how far away and painful the ground looks from 50 feet up in the air, especially when standing on a tiny 5 inch wide pole. While I was wearing a harness, the metal bar 6 entire feet away taunted me with the distance between us.

Encouraging words were shouted up to me, but I could hardly hear them because the pounding in my ears from the tension, building, building. My thoughts wandered to the emotional trauma my daughter would experience, watching her mother plunge to her death …

…and then I jumped.

When I think of the teen years I return to this scene of me, standing on the edge of something high above the ground. So much is happening for a teen during theses years, balancing on unfamiliar territory, no longer a child while not yet an adult, balancing on unfamiliar territory, accelerated hormones that feel tantalizingly out of reach, the risk of exploring identity, anticipating thrill of freedom, wanting to be independent and yet tethered to parents…perhaps you remember these years. I know I do.

So lately, I’ve been wondering, what values accompany these teenage years?

For teenagers? For parents?

The word ‘teenager’ actually means “between ages of puberty and maturity.” Teens are literally between two worlds–childhood and adulthood. Do we understand the point of being between? The value and teachability of this stage?

How do we as parents encourage and equip them towards adulthood?

What if we view our teens as passionately loved by God–why would God abandon them?

Are we willing to risk letting them “climb” to risky places, while staying connected enough we encourage them to “jump,” knowing that each risky decision can teach them about who they are?

There I was, with my eyes on the bar (or maybe they were tightly squeezed shut, hard to say), knees bent, I jumped and with desperate fingers I brushed the metal bar. For a moment I felt what it would be like to grasp that which was out of my reach…

Are we willing to partner with our teenagers as they maneuver between two worlds?

Let’s discuss and explore more what it can look like to navigate these teenage years along side our teens, shall we? Join Truessence for a four week class beginning April 15th at Open Door in Maple Grove.

I look forward to seeing you there!

~ b.