Parenting Points are designed to be shared with the congregational families youth workers serve. Feel free to copy and distribute this article with the families in your congregation and beyond!

Happy New Year! It’s time to make and probably break New Year’s resolutions! A new year is a great time for fresh starts but it is also a reminder that the previous year went by at break neck speed. Time is a very precious commodity. Time spent with your children and teenagers is even more precious, incredibly valuable to them and to you.

I recently received an email illustrating the importance of spending time with children and teens. It goes something like this: Once there was a 9-year-old boy who loved and admired his dad very much.  His dad was a busy, hard working man.  One day, the boy asked his dad how much he made per hour doing his job.  Dad thought this was a strange request but he replied that he made about $20.00 an hour.  The boy was satisfied and went to plan.  Some time later, the boy returned to the room where his dad was working and asked, “Dad, can I borrow $9.00?” His dad reminded the boy that he received an allowance and that if he wanted something, he would have to save for it.  The son persisted in his request.  Finally, the father said, “What do you need $9.00 for?”  The son replied, “I have saved $11.00.  If you lend me just $9.00 more, I’ll be able to buy an hour of your time.”  This boy knows the value of time with Dad.  It’s priceless!

As a parent of adult children, I can tell you with some degree of authority that it’s a mistake to take time for granted.  Make an intentional plan to spend more time with your children during 2004.  Challenge your family to a board game. Surprise your teen and tuck him in at night; tell him or her that you missed that just-before-bed time the two of you used to have. Ask for a “date” with your teen. Make sure to respect his or her schedule, but work to make time to take him or her out to dinner alone. Go paintballing with your teen, or ask him or her to join a bowling league with you.  Share stories from your past with your children. Pray with them. Enjoy them.  As our children become teenagers, we realize more than ever before that time is fleeting. Don’t miss a moment of these precious teen years. (This is not a misprint; the teen years really are a precious time in your child’s life.)  These years are an age of discovery and growth. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of it.

thESource is published on the Web by LCMS District & Congregational Services-Youth Ministry.  The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, 1333 South Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122-7295; 1-800-248-1930;  Editor: Gretchen M. Jameson; Assistant Editor: Dawn Cornelius-Gaunt; Layout Gretchen M. Jameson. VOL 1 NO. 4 January 2004