Teaching Teens to Find Peace in an Imperfect World
You only have to turn the television on these days before your world is bombarded by scenes of violence and turmoil. A lot of families are already stressed out as is, just trying to make ends meet whilst still raising a family. Our children live in this imperfect world and their lives are greatly impacted by what comes at them from every side. Parents should recognize what happens around our children does affect them and strive to help them find peace in the imperfect world live in.
1. It starts at home
Home life can be stressful with both parents working and juggling schedules to accommodate after school activities etc. Our attitude towards these stressors can create peace or chaos for our children. I constantly remind myself, the only thing I really have control over is my own attitude. At the end of the day, a grumpy attitude does not decrease our workload. In fact it makes everything that much harder. Take a time out to check yourself. Remember to smile. Smiling automatically lifts your attitude and the attitude of the world around you. Be happy to be around your children. Avoid making them feel like they are an inconvenience. Life gets little easier when parents are not at each other’s throats because they are tired. Again, it is a choice. What you have going on is not going to change if you have a bad attitude. Working on a more positive attitude lightens the mood at home and teaches teens even with chaos all around you, you can choose to find inner peace.
2. Be careful what you say
There is so much going on around us from the political world, to senseless killings which assail us every single time we turn on the radio or television. We have to be careful how we talk about these events with our children. Some parents feel the best way to deal with uncertain times is through avoidance. This is unrealistic. Teens learn about current events from friends and the social media channels. Be honest when talking to them. Admit it if you don’t agree with whatever the issue is but also point out, there are two sides to every story and until you know all the facts you really can’t make an informed opinion. Be careful not to criticize or alienate any group of people. We live in an imperfect world and our teens must learn how to coexist with others even if they don’t necessarily agree with their philosophy. We have to teach them to be tolerant of people who are different from them. The truth is, until you have walked in someone else’s shoes, you really can’t understand how they feel and it is unfair and unwise to vilify them. We really should try very hard as parents to create open-minded, non-judgmental teens who can live in an imperfect world with others.
3. Acknowledging the truth
During difficult seasons of life, parents try to shield their children as much as they can. For younger children, it may be a little easier but certainly teens sense it when all is not well at home. Be honest with your teens if your family is going through a financial hardship or job loss or a difficult illness. It is often worse for a child to sense there is something wrong but mom and dad are hiding it, versus you coming out and explaining in words they can understand exactly what the family is going through. Hiding the truth leads to children wondering if whatever is going on is their fault. Some kids develop abdominal pain, chest pain and various unexplained ailments out of fear and anxiety. You’ll be amazed at how some teens will rally around and offer support when you acknowledge the truth. This openness brings out the best in them. They don’t blame you for what is going on, they support you and sometimes come up with great ideas you may not have thought of. Give them credit and be honest with them and teach them they can have peace despite everything going on at home.
4. Letting go and believing for the best
A good life lesson to teach our teens is how to let go the past and find peace and enthusiasm for the future. Help them realize, we may not always have control over what happens to us in life, we certainly have control over how we respond to these stressors. A job loss can be a difficult stressor for every family but once the pain and crying is over, you can choose to vent and slam your boss every minute of the day and create tension, bitterness and unhappiness for your family, or you can choose to admit to your family it is your opinion, life has been unfair, but you choose to let go, and believe that God has something bigger and better for you. This gives everyone hope. It teaches your teens to let go of the past and believe in a greater future for themselves. You have to have faith, when one door closes a bigger and better door will open for you. You can only find that door if you let go the past, be at peace with yourself and reach for the future with enthusiasm.
5. Making a difference
A very important way to teach teens to find peace in an imperfect world is to teach them to make a difference in other people’s lives. Reaching out and helping others less fortunate than ourselves gives us peace and joy. We learn not to focus so much on ourselves and realize perhaps in the greater scheme of life, our problems pale in comparison to what others are going through. Teach them to help others in school and in their community and even to find time to relate to their younger siblings. Helping others is one of the best and most gratifying ways to find peace in our world.
We certainly live in an imperfect world but we can teach our teens to find peace despite the imperfections. Our response to life’s events is a choice and we must decide every day to choose peace and teach our teens to do the same.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27