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Thirteen Guidlines For Success

In May, my oldest son turned thirteen. In our household, we honor this birthday as a significant milestone—a crossing over from childhood into adulthood. We gathered the men in our family together as well as the leaders of our church for his celebration. I asked each of them to take some time to prepare a blessing for him as well as any words of wisdom for his coming of age. Everyone shared profound insight including the importance of a daily quiet time, journaling, living beyond the moment and more.

As school opens its doors again for a new year, may we remember the adolescents and the significant challenges that lie ahead. While not an exhaustive list of attributes, here are thirteen guidelines with Scriptural reference my father shared with my son. Perhaps they will be useful to help our loved ones navigate the often treacherous waters of adolescence and adulthood:

  1. Revere and honor God. Proverbs 1:7; 8;13

  2. Honor and Respect your father and mother. Ephesian 6:1-3

  3. Accept your responsibility to be a good influence. I Timothy 6:20

  4. Protect your future children by giving them a solid foundation to grow and mature. Deuteronomy 4:40

  5. Choose friends that promote good behavior; ones you can look up to spiritually. 1 Corinthians 15:33; Proverbs 13:20

  6. Choose the input/access to your mind carefully. Philippians 4:8

  7. Be a man of your word; a man of truth. Proverbs 3:3-4

  8. Be a man of humility. A real man gives God credit and praise for all talents and gifts and honors God with them. Matthew 20:26; 23:12

  9. Be a futuristic thinker; wise men do not build on what they can gain in the moment but what will be of lifelong and eternal benefit. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

My father was speaking to my son, thus using the male pronoun. However, these truths speak beyond gender and are essential to spiritual growth and maturity. My oldest son has been my most challenging child thus far, and though he would never admit it, his “crossing over” celebration made an impact on his life. Though his body and emotions may not have been ready to fully grasp the significance of the occasion, his spirit wholly embraced the magnitude. Great men of God gathered to celebrate him, encourage and instruct him, and pray a blessing over his future. His spirit received it and eventually the rest of him will catch up!

Parenting is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. I fail more often than I succeed. Yet I rest assured that God would not have entrusted me with such precious gifts and not given me the tools with which to steward them. In times of distress, I remember His promise, “All your children will be taught of the Lord, and great will be their peace” (Isaiah 54:13). One evening while distraught, praying over one of my children, I was reminded of this verse. The Lord spoke to my heart, “Will be taught by whom?” I responded, “The Lord.” He then whispered, “And you may not like the way I teach them.” Though that may sound ominous to some, it gave me great solace and continues to remind me that my children are His. I guide them, train them, love them, and do my best to protect and do what’s right for them, but ultimately, they belong to Him. I pray they are all able to learn gently, but if not my loving Heavenly Father knows just how to teach them.

God loves the children in our lives more than we can imagine! He is trustworthy and His Word is full of the BEST guidelines for life. I am grateful to have extended family that knows Him, knows His Word, and pours into my children to help them grow in grace. God structures life in seasons. Some are more difficult than others. But He can always be trusted and His Word is always sure!

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