Talking to teens

An actual message to one of my teenagers who was complaining too much about his responsibilities:

You’re doing so well in so many areas. But it saddens me that you blame dad when you don’t feel like doing your duties.

You’re old enough to govern yourself, so govern yourself or be governed. If you were governing yourself, you would already have plans to be where you’re supposed to be, even if dad wasn’t going, and even if he wasn’t expecting you there.

Freedom isn’t about doing whatever you want, it’s about willfully choosing to do the things that keep you on track to qualify for all the blessings that heaven has to offer. Each right choice increases your freedom. Each poor choice diminishes it. And I’m not talking about “consequences” that are implemented at home. I’m talking about your agency and how you get to use it every day in how you think and what you do.

As you know, we look for every possible reason to give you as much freedom as we (in good conscience) can. When you feel more restrained than you like, I encourage you to notice how good you have it, and be grateful instead of belligerent.

Your attitude (above almost everything else) has the greatest effect on, or is one of the greatest indicators, for what direction your life is headed, for good or for bad. Please, do not grieve me, and please do not disrespect your dad. He asks so little and gives you so much. Either way, you’ll answer to God for how you honor him, and you have so little time with him left.

Make this last year you’re home be one that you have no regrets about. I love you and am so proud of how much you’ve matured. I was impressed with how hard you worked this morning and I recognize you could have put up a much bigger stink than you did. Just pay attention to how you feel when you’re doing the right things, and then notice how much better it feels when you do the right things with a cheerful heart.

It’s a choice, and it will pay you great dividends if you learn that lesson early. Good night.. if you want to talk to me about this more, let’s do it after you get a nap tomorrow.

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