Remember your Creator in the days of your youth. Ecclesiastes 12:1 (NIV)
I was in a meeting this week where the discussion turned to raising children. The question was asked which is the worst age to parent, a baby or a teenager? For the sake of discussion, let’s define baby as anyone under the age of six. Ready? Debate! With a baby you get up repeatedly in the night to feed or change, you walk the floor at three in the morning and after finally getting to sleep, you wake bleary eyed a few hours later. With a teenager, you walk the floor at three in the morning waiting for them to come home safe and sound. When you awake the next morning to head off to work, they are still sound asleep and will be there until at least Noon. With a preschooler, when you go to the grocery store, you have to endure those temper tantrums on the candy and cereal aisle. I have been known to leave my cart in the middle of the store and drag a kid kicking and screaming out to the car. With a teenager, you don’t have to go to the store to have your wallet emptied. There are no temper tantrums, just sly manipulation that robs you of your senses and your cash. It’s a subtle thing. You aren’t embarrassed or deaf from the wails, but are still left shaking your head in bewilderment. With a child, if they play with their cereal and don’t want to get dressed so you are on the verge of being late for work, you just pick them up, carry them to the car, strap them in their car seat and make them go to school or the babysitters in their pajamas. I have been known to do this as well and it is amazing how fast a child can dress himself in the school parking lot if it means wearing his slippers to class. With a teenager, it’s not breakfast that slows them down, but the need to sleep until the very last minute. While they are too big to carry to the car, if you dangle the car keys over their head that is usually enough motivation to get them to cooperate. With toddlers, you worry about them wetting their pants while they are out in public. With teenagers, you just hope that they will cover up their underwear. With babies, we stand before them and say over and over, “Mama. Dadda.” We want them to talk! With teenagers, we also want them to talk to us, but instead, they carry on incessant conversations with their friends through cell or text. When the debate was over, there was no real consensus other than whatever stage you are in, seems to be the worst and you would gladly switch places. One thing is certain, though. No matter what their age, children or teenagers, as their parents we have the responsibility to teach them about God Who created them and loves them just the way they are.