5.13.2009

Pretoddlers :: Accountability :: Teenagers :: Growing Up

"You are only accountable as you make yourself" - an unknown friend I can't remember told me this or quoted this. If that's you, dinner is on me.

Lately Marie and I began to introduce pre-toddler discipline into our daily routine with Ella. We are centering all our efforts around holding Ella up to the standard of maturity that she is at, while not giving her too much to handle.

For example, we don't let her play with our cell phones or the remote control because she doesn't know how to properly use them or even know what they do. Also, when Ella is on her changing table, I do not let her grab the pretty pink curtains near her because the day is quickly approaching that she will be able to pull them off the wall! So strong.

So after a few weeks of first showing her what she CAN do and then saying her name and gently putting her hands in the proper place when she misbehaves, she knows that the pretty pink curtains are off limits. We've progressed quite well. Now I see the flash of a thought in her eyes. She is thinking, "pretty pink curtains." I don't say no yet, I just say her name, "Ella." Her hand draws back. This week, she's picked up a new behavior at this stage of intervension.

She looks away as if to tell me, "I won't get in trouble if we don't make eye contact."

Where does an eight month old learn that? I've noticed that same tenancy in the teenagers and young adults that I've worked with over the past few years.

A youth will talk during your sermon and never look at you.
That usually works, I don't notice until he or she makes eye contact.

A middle school aged girl will pretend not to hear her leader nicely say her name three or four times to request a descrete conversation because the girl doesn't want to be confronted about her outfit.
A seasoned youth worker will see right through this behavior and appropriatly persue this girl without embarrising her in front of her peers.

A volunteer leader who is struggling in his spiritual life will miss a service here or there, not return phone calls or e-mails and suddenly leave the ministry.
A seasoned youth pastor will follow up appropriately BEFORE this even happens.

It's funny how we as human beings can avoid accountability and 'sheperding' from the people we really need it from. I being the cheif of all avoiders.

Proverbs 28:1 [TNIV]
1 The wicked flee though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

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