Like Dew Your Youth – Chapter 1

Chapter 1 – The Gift of Adolescence (Like Dew Your Youth, by Eugene Peterson)
Many people fear adolescents, whether they be their own or someone else’s. When I tell people that I work with teens, some people let on to their own fears, while others appreciate that work, if only from a distance. Indeed there are many challenges that teens and pre-teens face these days and parents are dragged through that same mud whether they want to or not. That said, the first thing that Eugene Peterson asserts in Like Dew Your Youth is that adolescence is a gift from God to those in middle age. He says that, “in these middle decades of life we are prone to stagnation and depression, the wonders of life reduce to banalities and the juices of life dry up. Failures and disappointments accumulate” (3). Adolescence is a means of grace for such as these, indeed for us all. Adolescence reminds us that they even though we may be done growing biologically and professionally we have been certified, there is still growth that is required in our lives. “Growth is the delight of the child and the agony of youth, but it is not natural to the middle-aged” (7). The growth of our teens challenges us to grow, although we can refuse that challenge even while we still help our children to grow – Peterson calls this “detached” parenting. Peterson does not try to define exactly how it should look or will look from home to home. Suffice it to say that there are no rules or patterns to achieving success. Each parent, child, and family is different. He says that, “particular rules, techniques of discipline, variations in strictness and permissiveness – they run the gamut. One thing stands out: these parents, seriously, honestly, joyfully follow the way of Christ themselves. They don’t define adolesence as a problem and try to solve it. They are engaged in vigorous Christian growth on their own and permit their children to look over their shoulders while they do it” (9). So, there are various ways that we may view teens and the intrusion of their growing presents in our families, but how do we view them? How do we view those challenges? Peterson would have us to see adolecence as a gift and an opportunity to grow. What are your thoughts?

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