I have a teen-ager, and I love him very much. But sometimes he does try my patience! I've learned from observing, however, that he almost invariably wants to do the right thing - to be neat, thoughtful, to get his homework done, and so on. But above all else, he wants to be treated with respect and love even when he isn't doing everything right. The worst offenses against him are to assume he has a bad motive and to speak with disrespect toward him. If I correct him lovingly with reason and respect, he always responds in a way that shows he cares about the moral and spiritual values I want to impart to him - even if it takes him a while to respond!
My wife and I have become convinced of the benefits of letting God, divine Love, govern the relationship of parents to teenagers - and to each other. The Bible gives ample instruction as to how parents can do this and thereby provide an atmosphere of love and harmony in the home. The practice of Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, for example, is essential. So is an understanding of what the Scriptures say about God and about our relationship to Him.
The Bible tells us that God is Father, the Parent of us all. ''Have we not all one father?'' n1 we read in Malachi. The Scriptures also picture the motherhood of God. In a very tender passage in Deuteronomy, in reference to Jacob, who was symbolic of God's people, we read: ''As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.'' n2
n1 Malachi 2:10.
n2 Deuteronomy 32:11,12.
And we learn through the Bible and the teachings of Christian Science that God is not only the source of love but Love itself. We all, in our true identities, are children of God, of Love. ''The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.'' n3
n3 Romans 8:16, 17.