DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I guess I behaved the same way when I was a teenager, but my daughter (who’s 16) goes around with a sullen attitude all the time. No matter what I tell her, she just rolls her eyes as if I’m the dumbest person on Earth. Will she ever grow up? — E.M.
Yes, she probably will, just as you did, once you matured and realized that life wasn’t going to be handed to you on a platter. Instead, you discovered that life involves responsibilities, which often force us to become mature.
I often think of a young man in the Bible named John Mark. He wanted to go with the Apostle Paul on his first missionary journey, which would have been an exciting adventure for someone his age. But once the excitement wore off and the journey became hard, Mark abandoned Paul and went home. He was obviously immature and irresponsible, and Paul refused to take him on another journey (Acts 15:36-40). But Mark didn’t stay that way! Over time, he changed, and God even used him to write the Gospel of Mark.
Young people your daughter’s age often feel tugged in two different directions (although they may not even realize it). On one hand, they need the wisdom and guidance that only parents and other adults can give them. On the other hand, however, they yearn to be free and independent, which they will be someday. Part of our responsibility is to help them make that transition.
Pray for your daughter, and urge her to put her life into Christ’s hand. Don’t expect her to grow up all at once, but ask God to give you wisdom, gentleness and patience. Above all, assure her constantly of your love and concern, both now, and in the future.