We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine


Dear Dad, Part 1

Recently, a dad wrote to me, expressing his concern and frustrations about his teen daughter’s poor choices and irritating mood swings. Here’s what I wrote to him:

Dear Dad: First, choose your battles wisely. She is a young lady now and needs to be making some of her own decisions, even if they seem to be poor choices. While she is living at home (instead of alone or with peers), this is a safe time for her to learn from poor choices. Often our control of others is evidence of our lack of trust in God. Those we love the most become the idols of our heart, as shown in our inability to relinquish control.

Your daughter is God’s possession, and you are a caretaker. Often parents desire perfect children so their own images will be exalted. Your daughter is not going to be perfect. You need to celebrate her strengths and praise her as much as possible.

In Psalm 103 we learn that God does not deal with us according to our sins. Try to maintain an imbalance of mercy and judgment–God is extremely imbalanced in this regard…1000 to 4! His mercy is to a thousand generations and his judgment to the third and fourth generations.

Remember also that God’s compassions are new every morning. Make sure yours are likewise. If your daughter doesn’t experience her dad’s compassions and affirmation, she will continue to look to others for what she desperately needs.

In our next Lamplighter moment, I’ll share how this same father can help his daughter deal with the mood swings she’s experiencing!

Recommended Materials:

The Return of The Prodigal Son by Henry Nouwen (not available from Lamplighter)