A few weeks ago I was driving my daughter (13) to her early morning swimming squad training. Normally at 5.30am we are both not naturally talkative. This morning was different. My daughter had an issue that was unresolved for her and she needed to ‘get it off her chest’.
Three nights before, she had been at Youth Group. She loves Youth Group and had never had a negative word about it before. But now was different. That Friday night had been a games night. Nothing wrong with that. The youth were all split into different teams. Nothing wrong with that. My daughter and another year 7 ended up being in a group of year 8’s and some year 12’s. Nothing wrong with that. Except that the whole night, according to my daughter, the year 8’s kept running back and forth from the bathroom, spending most of the night in there and not with the team they had been assigned to. Then to add to the issue, when they were present physically with the rest of the team, the year 8’s and year 12’s had kept saying how they hated the night and it was ‘f….. sh…’ (using the full words).
My daughter is not used to hearing swear words. She is also not used to hearing them used repeatedly over and over again all night at a church run event. It had upset her – both the repeated use of the swear words plus the fact that the year 8’s were not present physically most of the night.
My daughter had then gone to a friend’s for a sleep over and had shared in the car on the way home what had happened with her friend’s mum. Both my daughter and her friend decided that they would send an email to the Youth Pastor and let him know what had happened and also suggest alternative ways of dividing the youth up into groups so that all the year 8’s don’t end up in the one group with a couple of others and make it unpleasant for the rest. (My daughter is learning that if you complain, then you have to also offer a solution to the issue.)
By the time we had picked our daughter up two days later, the issue was still at the forefront as she spent the drive home explaining what she was planning to do and why so as to address the issue and to prevent it happening again.
Thus, the following morning when I heard a repeat of it again, I suddenly realised, she was offended by it. I then went to what I am training to be my default and thinking, “she is carrying a spirit of (in this case) offense”. Very quietly, whilst my daughter was still talking, I whispered the words, “Spirit of offense I see you and we choose not to partner with you.” (I could easily have spoken it out aloud and explained what I was doing with my daughter but I chose not to this time, mainly due to the early hour.)
Without a couple of minutes, my daughter then declared, “Mum, it’s really not a big issue and I am just going to leave it.” Several days later I asked her if she was going to write the email to the Youth pastor and her reply was that it was no longer an issue and not worth bothering about.
Parents – are there issues that your kids are struggling with you and you could help them by changing the spiritual atmosphere around them? It may not be offense, it may be negativity, criticism, unforgiveness, etc. I encourage you to identify the negative atmosphere and then pray a simple prayer of “Spirit of ……(negative thing)….., I see you and choose not to partner with you. Instead I release a spirit of …….(the opposite)……..” Watch to see the change. Hopefully it will cut short any negative attitudes in your family’s life. This is a crucial skill to teach your child as they grow and develop so they don’t need to unwittingly partner with any negative stuff in their life.
Have a great week with your family.