From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Dr. Graham:

My daughter, not yet a teenager, is going through a rebellious stage and I am at my wits end. She threatens to leave home if I don’t let her do what she wants. She says I am denying her happiness. As a parent I cannot go along with the things that she is pursuing to find happiness, yet if I dig my heels in she will run away. What is a parent to do?

— T.M.

Dear T.M.: Children are dependent upon parents for many things, but one of the most important things they need is sound leadership from mom or dad, hopefully both. Parents are to correct and nurture children. Nurturing can be difficult and can bring hardship but is worth the effort.

Children also need to be nourished by God’s truth. There are many examples in the Bible about people seeking happiness. King Solomon was convinced he knew how to find happiness — and with his vast resources, he was able to pursue it. Wealth, fame, pleasure, power, lavish houses, a reputation for wisdom — you name it, King Solomon had it. Yet after gaining everything he had ever wanted, he reluctantly concluded that his life was still empty and without meaning. His search for lasting happiness had failed; his soul was empty.

A child is too young to have enough wisdom to recognize true happiness as they pursue it, so they must be led. Teach your child the Scripture. Replace what the world teaches with the things of God. Children often respond to illustrations. Explain the consequences of rebelling against those who love and cherish them.

Imagine the wisest human king saying that he denied himself nothing but learned that all he achieved was meaningless (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11). We must all learn from these lessons that have stood the test of time.