Episode 1. Just Grow Up
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Growing up isn’t easy. Going from a little baby to a well adjusted young adult is tough. So – what’s growing up all about? What happens along the way. Join Berni, as he stands back and takes a …
Growing up isn’t easy. That whole journey from being a little baby to a well-adjusted young adult is tough. So what’s growing up all about? What happens along the way?
You know, I think that one of the hardest things in life is just growing up. You start of life as this helpless little baby; can’t do anything for yourself. And the somehow 20 or 25 years later you’re supposed to be this well-balanced mature young adult capable of taking on the world. But along the way there are lots of growing pains.
I don’t know how you found it, but for me I think growing up was hard. There are some truths about life that we can only learn one way, the hard way. In fact there’s an old Yiddish proverb that I think sums it up really well. “Every generation has to learn for itself the stove is hot.” Ain’t that just the truth? So that’s why this week on the program we are going to take a look at this whole question of growing up because it’s just not easy.
I recently spoke at a gathering of students, high school students; it was the opening of the new senior campus. I was invited go and visit and speak for 20 minutes or a half an hour. Now, I remember when I was a student at high school we had hard wooden seats in the auditorium. And these events – you know, end of year award nights and speech nights and openings of buildings, all that stuff – you’d have to sit for what seemed like an eternity for hours and they’d always have a guest speaker.
I don’t know how you remember high school, but for me it was always some old codger who just droned on for ever and ever and had nothing useful to say to me. It just bored my socks off. I used to sit there and think, “what is this guy doing here, where does he get off.”
There were two things that I hungered to hear about. Firstly, something that would make my life better today whether it’s at school, study, home, parents or growing up or the conflict and the pressures. Tell me something that will make my life better today. And secondly I used to think, I wonder what my life will be like after I finish school.
Now when you are a teenager all you’ve ever know is going to school and you hunger for life after school. We used to have this little ditty. “No more pencils no more books no more teacher’s dirty looks.” What’s it going to be like when I finish school? What’s the freedom like, what’s the future like, the hopes and the dreams? Tell me about some of that stuff.
So when I was preparing this message for the high school, I realised I was the old codger going to speak to the students. And I thought I’d better come up with something that really works for them
So I did a little message called, “How to Get More Out of Your Parents”. Now I’m going to tell you, that grabbed a few people’s attention. The kids were really interested and a few parents wanted to have a listen too, to hear what this old codger was going to say. And it was a message about today and the future. So this week on A Different Perspective, I’ve called this five program series, “How to Get More Out of Your Parents”. And it’s for young and old.
If you’re a teenager listen up if you’re a parent of a teenager hopefully there’s some stuff here that might kind of help. If you’re a grandparent you could be such a calming influence you know in the family of your children where there are teenagers as grandchildren.
Maybe you just grew up in conflict with your parents and somehow there are unresolved issues inside. Will you stick with me over these next few programs this week and let us have a look at what it means to grow up?
What actually goes on in the process of growing up? Let’s stand back for a minute today and say, what is growing up all about? We all begin life as this helpless baby, we’re born and if they just left us there naked, lying on the bench, we’d die. Someone had to wrap us up in warm clothes and wrap our hands away so we wouldn’t scratch our faces with our nails.
And parents feed you and they protect you and they change your nappy and they carry you around. When we were born we couldn’t walk or talk or work or play or do anything much really. We started out life absolutely and completely helpless.
Now that’s pretty much unique in the animal kingdom. Most other species the new born is up and about pretty quickly because it’s the only way they survive. Look at a calf or a foal, I mean they’re up and walking within just a few minutes of being born. A few days later they’re running around the field. But a human baby is totally dependant on its parents for everything.
So what’s growing up all about?
Well, when you think about it, the process of growing up is the process of moving from complete dependence to complete independence. I don’t like the fact that I began my life dirtying my nappies. But we all did. That’s how it all started for us. We started completely dependent. Yet by the time we leave home we’re supposed to be capable of looking after ourselves. You think of the progression.
A little baby grows up into a toddler, maybe 2 or 3 years old. Well you still have to regulate when it sleeps, you regulate what the child watches on television. The Parents control a whole bunch of things in that child’s life because it doesn’t have the ability or the maturity or the knowledge to look after itself. But progressively parents let little things go because the child starts to grow up.
I mean when the child first heads off to school. Now that’s a big step of independence because now the child spends several hours away from it’s parents. And progressively we let them use sharp knives. You don’t let a 2 or 3 year old use a sharp knife because it’s going to hurt itself. And we let them watch different Television shows. We let them do things differently on the internet and we let them stay up later at night and we let them make more choices about what they eat.
And as the years go on the child progressively learns and grows and matures and moves from complete dependence to independence. That’s what growing up is all about.
And all through this process parents are hard wired to bless their children. Well, you know the vast majority, 99% of parents want to bless their children and they really do. I mean I look at my daughter and she’s 16 and she’s just beautiful and I just want to bless the girl because she’s my daughter and I want to do that.
But sometimes the child rebels. I did. I did it as a teenager and you did it as a teenager, we just rebel. And that rebellion against our parents it’s like a cork that blocks the flow of blessing. We are going to look at that more over the next few days.
But part of growing up as the child becomes more independent and we as parents need to give that child room to become more independent. There’s this tension between control and independence, a tension that reaches its peak in the teenage years. A teenager is not really a child anymore but neither is he or she completely independent yet either. They still rely on their parents for food and for shelter and for money yet they want to be free.
Growing up is the process of moving from complete dependence on our parents to a place where we’re mature enough and we’ve learned enough that we can be independent. We can make our own way in this world separate from parents.
And in that process going from complete dependence to independence which after all is exactly what God’s plan was, there are bound to be some tensions. I wish someone had explained that to me when I was growing up. Just help me to stand back and understand exactly what it is that was going on.
Tomorrow we’re going to unpack a bit this rebellion and tension that happens in that place.