Stage 1: 1-15 years old: Tell me what to do dad; I’m just a kid.
Stage 2: 15-30 years old: Stop telling me what to do dad; I’m not a kid anymore.
Stage 3: 30-45 years old: I will tell the kids what to do and they had better listen.
Stage 4: 45-60 years old: I get paid to tell people what to do, but they won’t listen.
Stage 5: 60-75 years old: I wish someone had told me what I’m telling you.
Stage 6: 75+ years old: If I had only listened more.
I have put together this chart on “Stages of Advice”. It is helpful when thinking of the audience that you are addressing…especially the Gospel. It is easily seen why in Stage#2 that 7 out of 10 of our youth renounce their faith after leaving home…they are in the stage of “I will do it my way”, and “my way” is generally the way of the world.
It also points out why it is so important to reach our children in Stage#1 while they are in their formative years. A family at peace is the best witness for Christ. This time is precious and short and fathers must use it Biblically:
Prov22.6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Stage#3 is such a busy time in a father’s life that they have a hard time seeing that this stage is so critical in their children’s faith. When in Stage#3, fathers must be prepared to train up their children. It is hard for a father to admit that he to needs to listen...for in Stage#3 he is in charge. A father must ask if he is even prepared to take the lead in teaching a life of faith. A father’s walk as a witness is important to establish his authority, but it is just as important in order to receive the promises of God for his children.
Prov20.7 The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!
Once these same children reach Stage#2, it will be hard and the father is now in or headed into Stage#4. The father is concentrating on the best earnings period of his work life, while at the same time clashing with his children. A father sees himself as giving all for the success of his family at a time when his children are the least appreciative. It is easy to see that the first thing that becomes hard to achieve is this command of God:
Col3.21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
It is also easy to see why only 5% of people ever come to Christ after the age of 21. No one is listening.
Published on Sunday, March 1, 2015 @ 4:50 AM CDT