In a conversation with a parent yesterday, a parent who is the midst of a power struggle with their teenager, the transforming power of grace was palpable. I don't know if they were even aware of what was happening, or at least what seemed obvious to me. Grace was providing many possibilities for a changing of the game even though the mind was coming up with arguments. And the most powerful part was, that behind it all, I saw a parent coming face to face with their own dysfunction and seeing the added mess those problems were adding to the relationship with their child who is in the midst of what is more than likely the most tumultuous season of a humans life....adolescence. Truth is, most people never get through it in a healthy way and instead become dysfunctional adults.
Yesterday I was witness to the thawing of some ice and what seemed like a moment when a frustrated parent saw a glimmer of hope. I know the teenager much better than I do the parent and to be able to tell this parent of the beautiful and alive young lady I love being around brought tears to her eyes along with telling her of my hope in seeing her be able to see and experience that also. And I am so grateful for the opportunities I am having with this parent to not only speak these things to her about her daughter, but whenever I can, to help her see the grace that changed this parent (me) into someone who is now a much safer person for his daughters...and ever her daughter to be around as they walk through this tumultuous time in their lives and beyond.
The power struggle that many parents find themselves in with their teenagers during the adolescent years, has a way of making the parent a scapegoat in the eyes of their children. It has a way of shifting all their child's attention and focus towards them when it comes to their own difficulties. And all their anger and frustration also gets steered toward their parents due to their parents attempts to control them. It is often the very thing that ends up being the distraction that keeps them from owning up to their own crap. They don't ever get a chance to see it because they are so pissed off at mom and dad all the time and their friends are struggling with the same things they are, so seeing it while with their peers is slim possibility. This conflict between parent and adolescent is also the thing that creates an environment of secrecy and lies, when grace instead, with time, creates the opposite and helps them begin to see that the parent who understands grace is not their enemy.