A link to this article on “Behavior and Consequences” came across my inbox last week, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot since reading it. The article was directed towards warn parents against over-protecting their kids… but it struck a chord in me as a youth pastor. Do I really hold teenagers accountable?
If a teen says he/she will do something and he/she doesn’t, how do I respond? Typically, I’d probably make some wise-crack about it so they know I know they didn’t follow through on their word, but that’s probably the only “consequence.” I’m not up for becoming a police officer-pastor, but this article really makes me think through how I am helping teens take responsibility for their actions (and inactions!).
In the real world:
- If you drive over the speed limit and get caught, you get pulled over and (usually) get a ticket.
- If you don’t do your homework, it’s reflected in your grade for the term.
- If you don’t show up to work because you were too busy or because another better offer came up, you get put on probation or get fired.
What about at home and in the Church? Yes, those are places which should care more about you as a person than they care about your “output” (while school and work care more about your output than about you as a person)… but that doesn’t mean that parents and pastors should overlook lack of responsibility and poor-output just because we value the person over their work (anymore than a school should only care about the work and not the person).
“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” (Proverbs 13:24)