God and Dads
Beginning in June the Youth ministry shifts its focus from conflict resolution to God, or more specifically the doctrine of God. The Scriptures are filled with references to God as a father. God has chosen to reveal Himself in familial (family) language. In the June issue of Living with Teenagers there is an article titled Fatherhood: How a Relationship with Dad Shapes a Teen’s Ideas of God. In this article the author states, “Relational experiences that occur during the developmental stages of childhood and adolescence leave indelible marks in our stories.” It is absolutely true that you can have a passionate relationship with God through His Son Jesus even if you had a lousy or non-existant relationship with your dad. However, God intends for dad’s to disciple their children and through their discipleship grow to love the God who gave them their dads. The article also gave some practical ways for us to affect our children’s perceptions of God.
- Grace: Teenagers need to know they are enough–even with (or in spite of) their flaws and all the terrible things that have happened to them. Fathers who understand (and have experienced) grace can help their teens understand it. These moments often take place when teens are at a low point.
- Attachment: Both male and female adolescents need to feel attached to their fathers. Forming attachment requires a continuing passion to pursue your teenager for relationship, even when he resists your efforts.
- Intimacy: Parent-child relationships have critical moments in which a change in the relationship is imminent and a connection is made. Teenagers need their fathers to crawl into their world long enough to understand who they are and how they view the world.
- Forgiveness: Teens need to understand that broken relationships can heal. They know they are not perfect, but they need to learn that forgiveness and reconciliation can take place when they mess up. They will also learn this by their parents admitting when they mess up and ask forgiveness.
- Warmth and Care: Express love to your teen by listening attentively. Engaging in caring behaviors encourages teens to see God as One who challenges them towards personal growth and who is present and available in a time of need.