Monday, February 09, 2009

The rest of the story

(Note: This story was first published last week on The Heart of the Matter website. Readers wrote and wondered how it all turned out. I decided to republish the story here and tell the rest of the story today.)

"Mom, I have something to ask you. "My fourteen year old son said with a concerned look on his face as he walked into the kitchen.

“Sure, what’s up?” I replied as I continued to prepare dinner.

“You’ve taught us from the time we were little to listen and obey your instructions. And I think I do a pretty good job at that most of the time. (He breaks into a slight grin) But what am I supposed to do if I think you’re wrong about something? Not something like go clean your room, but something more important.”

“Like what?”

“Well, say you have a house rule that I don’t think is right.”

“Like what?”

“Maybe video games. I mean the Bible doesn’t say, thou shall not play video games? So what’s wrong with them and why don’t we have any?” (He seemed somewhat relieved to finally get the question out in the open.)

“What does the Bible say?”


“Are you sure?” I countered as I turned away from the stove and looked straight into his eyes.

“Mom, don’t be ridiculous. There were no video games back then.”

“Just because the Bible doesn’t talk about something specific, does that mean that video games are okay?”

“Let me think about that.” (He leaves the room and comes back with his Bible and a concordance. He looks up a few possible words and then comes back to me.)

“Mom, I can’t find anything. What am I supposed to look up?”

I gave him a few suggestions and for the next hour or so he was consumed with finding out what the Bible had to say about entertainment and video games. I couldn’t have been more pleased. Not because he’s consumed with trying to convince me our decision was wrong, which he obviously was, but because he was willing to work hard to find out the Truth.

When I was a new mom with toddlers under foot, older parents frequently said, “You think it’s tough now, just wait until they’re teenagers.” The terrible two’s were supposedly no match for the turbulent teens.

Well, a decade later, I concede that they were right up to a point. The teen years definitely require parents to be at the top of their game at all times. Since that day, many similar issues have come up where our teens have wondered why we do things the way we do. It’s also hard sometimes for a parent to accept that their questions aren’t because they are challenging our authority, but because they want to know Truth for themselves.

Later, I had a discussion with both of my teenage sons. They told me that growing up is difficult because some people don’t understand their desire to be men and they still treat them like little boys needing to be mothered. I must admit learning to let go isn’t easy. I enjoy seeing them mature into manhood, but selfishly I want them to be boys just a little longer. They also reminded me that it takes three things to make a relationship work: Two people who want to have a relationship and a shared interest.

I am eternally grateful that my children want to have a relationship with me and that the thread that binds us together is the Truth of God’s Word. It is our shared love for the Truth that will keep our relationship strong in the face of challenging questions and decisions. Despite the turbulence, I have no greater joy than to be the mother of six children who are seeking to make the Truth their own. (3 John 1:4)

The rest of the story....

Our decision not to allow video games remained in place. At fourteen, he began to understand the the Bible is definitely not silent on issues of entertainment and how we are to use our time even if videos are not mentioned specifically. However he was still a little unsettled about them and thought that playing videos in moderation would be okay. After voicing his thoughts, he accepted our decision.

Two years later....Josh is now sixteen. He took his first college class and taught himself to draw in order to prepare for a possible career in transportation or product design. He is also become proficient at the violin and spends time playing in a community orchestra. In order to pay for his lessons and college classes, he has recently taken a job life guarding. (He also had a paper route, cut lawns, and shoveled snow.) Although I am proud of his work ethic, I don't share this to boast. I think our decision not to allow video and computer games forced him to use his time more wisely and to develop skills and potential career opportunities. At fourteen he accepted our decision; at sixteen he sees the wisdom of our decision.

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