Many of our teenagers struggle because of our deliberate refusal to roll up our sleeves, pull down our pants, and expose the ugly scars left behind as a result of our disobedience. For some reason, we don’t think it’s necessary to show them any of the bones from our closets or the baggage from our previous lives. Instead, we move on as though we never struggled with many of the same things they struggle with today: dishonestly, academic failure, low self-esteem, abuse, alcohol, premarital sex, and the list goes on forever. Why do we go through years of child rearing without ever being honest about our own experiences and shortcomings…those that impacted us the greatest?

I believe guilt, embarrassment, and denial are three crucial strongholds keeping us from being transparent with our children. Some of us feel guilty or responsible for the struggles our children are experiencing because we believe they are partly due to decisions we’ve made in life. Some of us are embarrassed about our past and present life decisions and refuse to share those with our children. Lastly, many of us choose to be in denial about our behavior because we know we are still battling disobedience and participating in some unacceptable activity.

I once heard a youth pastor say, “I know all the hypocrites in the church, because your children tell us about you and how you expect something from them that you are unwilling to do yourself.”   You see, too often, we expect a level of excellence from our children that we are unwilling to uphold ourselves. Then, when they earn the same scars we’ve been hiding all their lives, we are angry and disappointed.

It is our duty to model the behavior we desire our children embrace, as well as share our testimonies as encouragement. Our children need to understand we have first-hand experience with the very things we are hoping they resist. Yes, as a Christian parent, it is indeed my responsibility to stand for what is right and stand against what is wrong, but I can do that by using myself and my not-so-perfect past as an example of what NOT TO DO.

Make this the day you will sweep out your closet and unpack your baggage in an effort to benefit your children!

-Mama Tameka