Today’s scripture: Proverbs 20:11-20 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Lynnette Pullen):

My daughter is soon to be 16 years old and is entering that “teenage state.” All parents who have survived this can relate — and probably still moan and groan about it. Those who are not there yet, be prepared! It’s terrible! Rolling eyes, constant back talk, poor behavior, and unexplainable moodiness are just the tip of the iceberg. I am constantly correcting poor behavior and trying to encourage good behavior. However, at every turn I feel undone. There are constant messages in the media and the community reinforcing disrespectful behavior.

For example, many television shows directed toward teenagers depict the parents as goofy, passive twits. The children are constantly making comments such as: “Get out of my face!” or “Just leave me alone!” or “You know better than that, Mom!” It’s followed by a laugh track or the parents complying with the outrageous demands.

It’s not just on the television, however. I listen to my kids’ friends, and many of them talk and act like the kids on TV. I politely asked one young lady to wait her turn to play a game, and she responded with “No — make me!” Of course, I thought, “You bet your smart mouth I will!” Fortunately for her, she walked away before the mother in me kicked into gear.

My concern is the complete lack of respect for adults. I bet some of the teens are thinking “Why is this a problem? I’m not hurting anyone!” But that’s the problem; they are hurting themselves and have no idea. I feel as though Proverbs 20:20 explains just that.

I believe having a parent guide, instruct, and protect us while we are growing up is a way to develop the skills we need to follow God. If we do not have a healthy respect and trust in a good parent, how much harder will it be to find this in our relationship with God? As a parent, I feel it is my job to help my children discern right from wrong behavior. In this day and age, we have to be extra vigilant. Our children are constantly bombarded with images of poor behavior masquerading as comedy, or being pressured to conform to disrespect by misguided peers.

If we are familiar with loving discipline in our youth, we will learn to recognize and follow it as an adult. I believe this one of the ways God keeps us safe.

Prayer for the day: God, thank you for blessing us with our children. It is a huge responsibility to train a child in the way they should go. The enemy is using media and peer pressure to validate disrespecting parents and adults. Please help our children discern right from wrong. Help us to lovingly guide and direct our children so they may grow up to recognize Your discipline and love. Amen.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.