Maybe the theme song from “Happy Days” isn’t quite fitting as the sound track for going through the teen years. But even in the midst of difficult years, there can be happy days. In fact, I’d argue that parents have to be intentional about fostering fun times with their teens. Yes, even the rebellious ones. In case you’re wondering if there’s biblical precedent for it, let’s take a look.
Understanding How Our (Lack of) Goodness Meets Grace
Ever gotten to the end of the week and realized you haven’t worked as hard as you should have or been as selfless as you could have? What does God say to you? Does He say you need to get your act together before you can enter His presence? Does He say the rest and peace and joy are only for those who have done better? Christ purchased all that’s needed for us to be able to live life with such abundant riches — and He did it while we were sinful, not once we turned ourselves around (Romans 5:8).
Maybe sometimes you feel like you need to shape up before you come to Him, but that isn’t the way our God operates. Grace is sufficient for our shortcomings, and for those of our kids. Even after a bad day, a really rough week, or even a terribly rocky year, there can be time to celebrate!
Going from Difficulty to Jubilation
The Year of Jubilee in the Old Testament is a beautiful picture of this: Every seven years, all debts were forgiven. Period. A rare display of grace during that era, it’s a beautiful picture of what happened through Christ’s death on the cross. So maybe this Easter season is a great time to have a Jubilee Day with your teen.
Shower him or her with love in his or her favorite way. Have fun together, no strings attached! Maybe even lift a well-earned restriction or consequence previously put in place. But don’t just mention that you’re doing it. Go out and celebrate! Go out to your teen’s favorite restaurant, throw a party, or take an overnight trip, just because!
Dealing with Disappointment
Even if you fully intend on showering your teen with a great day, evening, or weekend, you might be disappointed. He or she might not get into the mood or show appreciation for your efforts. Is that unlike our own response to God’s provision and His other gifts to us?
If you prepare yourself ahead of time for the worst and pray for strength to enable you to respond with grace, no matter how your attempts are received, you’ll reap a blessing. Maybe not the blessing you would choose, but a blessing nonetheless. Now, start planning that party or that mother/daughter date! God might even use this act of grace to soften your teen’s heart toward you — and Him!