Jazz and Trigger. (Jazz is on the left.) They are inseparable. You only have to observe this duo for a couple of minutes to see Jazz is the leader. Horse owners would identify him as a confident horse. Trigger, on the other hand, is less confident and dependent upon Jazz to lead.

Jazz is the boss. If he goes to the barn, Trigger follows. If Jazz heads for the pasture, Trigger tags along. I have never seen Trigger make any move without Jazz doing it first–not even go to water. Trigger always wants to be where Jazz is.

Horse owners call this strong desire to be with the group herd-bound behavior. This behavior is strongly influenced by a horse’s natural instincts, including their instinct to be with the herd and their need for security within the group.

Parents will also recognize this as a hallmark of teen behavior. It can be a great protection for them or lead them into grave danger.

Recently, I asked a group of parents of school aged children to list their greatest concerns in raising children today. As expected, first on the list were the pressures and negative influences of social media. One dad raised his hand and said, “Confidence. I want to be sure my children have enough confidence to stand firm.” So, how do our children gain this confidence? Will they lead or will they follow?


…the state of feeling certain about the truth of something

Consider this continuum…

  1. What you think
  2. Who you are
  3. Who you run with/from
  4. What you do

What you think shapes who you are. Who you are determines who you run with and, just as importantly, who or what you run from. This results in what you do, your actions.

My dad had many famous sayings through the years as I was growing up. One in particular was stated as I left the car for my first boy-girl party. He put his hand on my shoulder, looked into my eyes, and said, “Remember who you are.” This same message was carried on many times at our front door when our teenage sons left the house. Cheryl or I would touch their arm or give them a hug, look into their eyes, and say … “Remember who you are.”

Though the words of #3 and #4 on the continuum were not spoken, they were clearly implied by the statement, “Remember who you are.” In any situation in which your child “chooses poorly” and suffers the consequences, the parent should go back to #1 What you think and #2 Who you are. These form the foundation for our behaviors and provide the confidence to stand boldly against negative influences.

“We as Christians are called to model a different way of being human, a way of being human that was lived out ultimately by Jesus Christ.”

–Douglas Wilson

Questions for Parents:

Does your child view the world as an ordered, created world? Use the dinner table for “worldview” conversations. Shore up the foundations.

Am I creating a culture in my home of thinking and reflecting on Christ’s authority?

Does your child understand who he/she is according to God’s design?

If your child has come to faith in Christ, does he understand he is now a new creature with God’s Holy Spirit residing within?

Do you make wisdom attractive to your child? Scripture only describes two groups we can follow, the wise and the foolish. One should look very attractive and the other something to avoid.


Links to previous posts…

Worldview and the Big Questions of Life

Galvanizing Our Children for God’s Amazing Grace

The Fuzzy Edge Between Biblical Faith and Popular Culture