Every time I go running, there is a certain part of my run that I like the best…Seeing the finish line.
It represents that fact that I have accomplished my goal, and it gives me the motivation to push just a little bit harder until I cross the line.
I always end my regular runs and all my races with a sprint.
Sometimes the sprint is a little slower than others, but regardless, I always end giving it everything I have.
If you have ever run a marathon, you know how time intensive it is. Not only do you spend an entire day at the actual race itself, but you spend hours and hours and hours training before the race.
How silly would it be if at the end of your marathon, after months of training and hours of running, you could see the finish line and because you were so glad to see it you decided to stop running and just kind of walk/limp to the finish line. Or to just walk off the course and give up.
Well, of course that would be crazy. You see the finish line and your body is screaming at you to push harder, to keep going, and to finish strong!
You don’t want to let up, you want to work harder!
You want to finish well.
I was thinking about how this is so similar to how life should be as a parent.
By the time your child is a teenager, you have gone through hours and hours and hours of training.
Late nights, early mornings, joy, sickness, pain, laughter, and all around hard work.
And then…the teenage years.
I hate to even type that when your kids hit their teenage years, it’s like you can almost see the finish line, because my relationship with my teenagers is so strong I hate to think of it as ever being “finished”.
But, for the point of the article, I will continue.
Parents of teenagers…
I get it. You’re tired.
And you can’t even explain it to parents of babies and toddlers you bump into who have bags under their eyes and a fussy baby on their hip.
Because while they talk of getting 4 hours of interrupted sleep a night, and you just got a solid 6 hours, it’s different.
There is a different kind of tired.
It’s not necessarily physical tiredness from lack of sleep.
Although it is physical tiredness from all the driving to and from school, games, church, and parties.
But it’s emotional tiredness.
And until you’re there, it’s hard to describe.
The emotions that come into play as the parent of a teenager are so strong.
You want with everything in you for your teens to make all good choices.
To have all strong, godly friends.
To never lose a game, fail a test, have a friend betray them or experience loss.
Of course this is not realistic.
Every parent knows this, but comforting a teenager after losing a soccer game is different than comforting a 6-year-old from a soccer loss.
I know. I had to do both this month.
And when you’re kid is 6, it’s hard.
But when your kid is 15, it’s harder.
Comforting a 6-year-old after a kid says something mean to him is hard.
But comforting a 13-year-old after a kids say something mean to him is harder.
It just is, and I know that you parents feel me.
Here is where I need to remind you of something so very important.
Don’t. Let. Up.
Now, don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say.
I am not trying to say that the older they get, the more rules you need to enforce, and the more strict and hard you have to be.
Not at all.
What I am saying is this: This is time for you to sprint.
It’s time for you to be pushing your hardest.
To be giving your all.
Why? Because the end is getting close.
Because you can see the finish line.
It’s a representation of all the hard years you put in to training and raising this gift God has given you.
Your sprint might look a little slower than others if you have other kids at home too, but it shouldn’t stop you from sprinting.
It means being a better communicator.
It means loving harder.
It means serving more.
It means being humble in ways you haven’t worked so hard to stay humble before.
It means putting off the mundane tasks of life and enjoying a morning out as a family.
It means hugging a lot more.
It means confirming your love and approval with your words consistently.
It means way more time on your knees before God begging him to protect, to show favor and love and grace on your children.
It means talking good about them behind their back every chance you have.
Do you see? When you have teenagers it is not a time to slow down.
To let up.
To start walking.
To give up.
It’s time to start your sprint.
You want to finish strong. To give it your all. To show your kids that they matter. That you are not going to be lazy.
You are going to finish all the way to the end.
Parents. It’s time.
Remember all the years of hard work you have put in as you near the finish line.
And start your sprint.
I’ll be right there on the sidelines cheering you on.