Thursday, May 24, 2012

prolonging adolescence

Luke 2:43-50 (ESV)
And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, [44] but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, [45] and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. [46] After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. [47] And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. [48] And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress." [49] And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" [50] And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them.

“And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.” The story of Jesus childhood cuts off short. No one spends more time on it than Luke, and Luke doesn’t spend much time. This is the only story of his childhood. He stays behind and plays stump the teacher at the temple. He is asking questions, and it seems giving his own answers. The people are in amazement. The rabbi’s are in amazement. His parents worried, and frustrated.
I don’t know that you could blame them for be worried and frustrated. Jesus doesn’t think they should be concerned. I guess even the best of children stress their parents out in some way. Jesus does it by discussing theology. I get that. I stress most people out discussing theology. Today it seems strange that a twelve year old would have so much freedom in a city that size, that his parents don’t know where he is.
I tend to think parents could learn a little about that. Not that I’d leave my child alone in a city that way. Though I do remember my parents sending me to spend my summer alone, on a lake in MN when I was just 14 maybe 15, no electricity, no plumbing. A small cabin on a small lake in the middle of a huge forest with a ten mile walk to the grocery store. I survived on crackers and spray cheese. I read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I canoed around the lake and went for walks after dark. I bathed in the lake, walked to the nearest resort and flirted with the girls. And it felt good to have that confidence, to know my parents trusted me enough to let me do that. I betrayed that trust in every way I could, and never let them take that freedom back, as much as they had to ground me in the upcoming years. I’d let John do that I think, except I don’t get enough time with him, so what time I do have I spend with him. I guess my point is, kids will grow up as fast as you let them. Jesus was all but on his own at 12. I kind of like that idea. It makes more sense than prolonging adolescence.

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