I got a letter from a desperate parent: My teenage son is lazy and doesn’t want to work. All he does is hang out with friends and play video games. Can you offer some advice?
Here’s the good news. That’s not unusual. Most kids would rather play video games and hang out with friends than work. Shoot, Many days I’d rather play video games and hang out with friends than work. Wouldn’t you?
So why do you work instead of hanging out and playing games? It probably has something to do with the wisdom in Proverbs 16:26.
“It is good for workers to have an appetite; The workers hunger drives him on.”
Translation: If I don’t work I don’t eat.
Look at “hunger” as broader than just physical appetite and you can see how this passage offers the answer to your question. What does your son hunger for – video games and hanging out with friends? Great.
“You can play after you finish (to my satisfaction) cleaning your room, doing your homework, etc.”
“You can hang out with your friends after you ….”
Let whatever he hungers for be the motivation that drives him to do what he needs to do before he “eats”.
8, 18 or 28 years old – as long as they live in your home, sit on your furniture and use electricity you pay for you have a right to demand what they have to do before they can play.
You aren’t being mean or harsh. You’re just expecting them to live under the same rules you do – the rules of life. If I don’t work, I don’t eat. Which also is a New Testament command.
Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”
2 Thessalonians 3:10
This is a “patch” to fix the immediate problem but ideally you want to move your kids from this childish state to a state of responsibility through instilling vision in them. Here’s what I mean.
There’s a tendency today is to give teens (adolescents) a pass. They expect and we give them adult-like privileges but we don’t expect much in return. Aww, they’re just kids.
Biblically you are a child or an adult. There is no in between state of adolescence where you get adult privileges without adult responsibilities.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11
Adolescent is a snare that can produce wasted years in the lives of our youth.
No one expects great things from them so they don’t know they are capable of leadership by example, they are capable of greatness, even now.
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.
1 Timothy 4:12