If your child knows the Lord and goes to school (public or private) then the following is probably true: They will be under tremendous pressure to conform to the image of the crowd. Even “good kids” will try to exert pressure to get in the “right pecking order” (typically under them). Any school will likely have its share of good kids, promiscuous kids, angry kids, drunk kids, church kids, druggies, jocks, musicians etc…. most of whom will pressure each other to “conform” to whatever “image” they see fit.
MY POINT: If we can get our teens to “make friends with loneliness” instead of fear it, they will be much more able to resist the pressure to “conform” to the image of their schoolmates and more likely to conform to the image of our Lord. (Romans 8:29, 12:2)
SO HOW? Here are a few ideas…
- Understand that loneliness is PART OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH. I know many folks that feel slighted by God because they have listened to some “knuckle-headed, health/wealth” preacher who promised that God is here for our comfort. So if we are “uncomfortable” (lonely) then we must not be in God’s will…right? Nothing could be further from the truth. (2 Timothy 4:9-10, Phil.3:8)
- Help them EXPECT IT! When we are in Junior High and sit with the kid who “no one” sits with, or we are in High School and say “NO” to what “everyone is doing” we will alienate a certain group of people. Doing the right thing always “ruffles feathers”. (By the way, the attacks don’t always come from the “mean kids”. If you do not follow the crowd you will very likely experience times when you are lonely.
- Know that GOD OFTEN WORKS MOST FREELY in our lives when we are lonely! He has our attention when we are hurting. He will also change our need for others into a desire for Himself. When we realize the reality of an all-sufficient God and the closeness we can have with Him, loneliness looses its TEETH.
- GIVE EM A PLACE TO “COME HOME TO” where they are not alone. I mean make your home a place where they can be WITH you. If you are like us things are “crazy busy”. Especially when our kids hit the teenage years we were all going in different directions! I am haunted by my son’s words after what was a rare dinner all together…”I really like it when we are all together”. Later when I tucked him in I asked him about it. He said…” yea, I just don’t feel as alone when we are all together”. OUCH!!
- NEVER ENCOURAGE YOUR KIDS TO BE “PLEAS-ERS”. Help them be obedient to authority in their lives, help them be respectful of adults and even help them avoid a “rebellious heart” ….. but NEVER ask your kids to capitulate, even a little, to other kids just to be accepted. (We all tend to lean that way anyway.) Once we get accepted for the wrong reasons then it is like “CRACK”. It eventually robs us of our ability to stand for anything.