A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss his use of the car.   His father said to him, “I’ll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your Bible a little, and get your hair cut, then we will talk about it.”  A month later the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss his use of the car.  His father said, “Son, I’m real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you’ve studied your Bible diligently, but you didn’t get your hair cut!” The young man waited a moment and replied, “You know Dad, I’ve been thinking about that. You know Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair.”  His father replied, “Yes son, and they walked everywhere they went!”
New America Media (NAM) has just completed the largest survey ever taken among teenagers.  Done entirely by cell phone, adolescents were asked to list their top ten fears.  And researchers expected the standard answers (in no particular order) –
● facial pimples
● being bullied
● repeating a grade
● no prom date
● fail driver’s test
● global warming
● school shooting
● college rejection
● drugs and alcohol
● no close friends
● getting pregnant
● not making team

But researchers did not expect the number one answer given by teens as their top fear in life.   And this fear was listed more than double of any other fear – the break-up of their family
via separation and/or divorce.
Sandy Close, executive director of NAM, offered the following comment on the surprising result – “I believe what you see in this poll is a yearning for connection, and I don’t mean technology.  I mean high-touch interaction, conversation, dinner at home, reliability, proximity and predictability.”
The bottom line?  Family-wise, the best thing parents can do for their teens is to stay together as husband and wife, as father and mother.  (And this is not Pastor Gary preaching, it’s teenagers speaking.)  And to do less, is to give teens their very worst nightmare.
Qualities Of A Healthy Home
Andy Rooney was the well-known philosopher-in-residence on the long-running television program, Sixty Minutes.  And each week, millions of people watched to hear his latest take on life.  (Mr. Rooney grew up in Albany, New York, just a stone’s throw from where was my home.)  And one time, Andy offered the following description of the kind of family he believes it takes to bring up a responsible and productive member of society.
● A home with a mother and a father
● A Sunday that includes a place to worship
● A family that eats dinner together
● A space of their own, even it is tiny
● A good night kiss
● A warm bed with a special blanket having its own character
● A sweet motherly kindergarten teacher
● A cake on every birthday with candles to blow out and a wish to make
● A place to swim and a place to sleigh ride
● A friend with whom to share secrets
● A minor illness or two to let the child know that life isn’t always easy
● A rich uncle or doting aunt
● A talent that parents encourage because every child has one
● Discipline
● Someone who will read them stories
(You know, parenting can sometimes seem like such a monumental task.  But as you look over this list of fifteen things,  they really are all pretty simple to do.)