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Guidance counseling

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

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I have teenagers. when other parents find this out, there are often knowing glances. Nods. Comments like "You have my sympathy."

Rather than riding out our kids' uncertain adolescent years, just hoping nothing awful happens, I am finding there's a way parents can look to God for guidance for themselves as well as for their children. I know I can't make my kids think or behave in only the ways I would choose. I also know how important it is for young people to learn to think for themselves; how else will they grow?

I pray for myself and my children. I have to acknowledge, then, that each of us is guided by something more than instinct or peer pressure. Real guiding power is God's. The Bible shows God is the infinite Father and Mother. Really feeling that relieves me from a lot of pressure to determine the affairs of my family.

Jesus loved children (that must have included teenagers). He showed that innocence and purity are youthful qualities that adults do well to embody. And he said, "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 18:4). I see this as a promise that as I strive to express more of those qualities that we all want to see in our kids - freshness, energy, optimism, accomplishment, honesty - I have greater peace in my life, and more authority over my circumstances. And that is my living prayer that helps everyone.

After my son turned 16, he got his first job in a discount store, selling TVs, stereos, and CDs. After six months he was fired. He told us he'd been videotaped goofing off with a friend who'd come into the store. We discussed it briefly. It seemed that he felt the only thing he'd done wrong was get caught.

Not long before, I'd been praying about how to protect my children from all the different negative influences that bombard them. I realized I couldn't personally keep them safe or just assume that other adults would look out for them. I had to trust God to guard and guide them always.

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