“After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.”

Luke 2:43-44 (NLT)

I had to drop off my son Jordan this morning at school. He’s been driving himself but I had to drive him today. It gave us a chance to catch up. We debriefed the sermon from Sunday and I wanted to see what he learned. We went deeper into the scriptures, talked about school, discussed the dynamics of other cultures and discovered another route to dropping him off. It dawned on me that there was another level of understanding that I’ve been missing out on in this transition to adulthood. It made me wonder, “Do we really know where our kids are or do we just assume they are where we dropped them off?”

At 12 years old, the age most Jewish kids become adults, Jesus’ parents had just finished attending Passover as a family. When they got ready to leave they didn’t see their son Jesus. They ASSUMED he was with some relatives in the caravan (not to be confused with minivan).

After traveling half the day they noticed he didn’t show up for dinner. Panic set in. They had lost Jesus! They turned around and went back to Jerusalem and searched three days for him! They finally found him in the temple listening to the priest teach.

Mary couldn’t even appreciate the spectacle of her son in the Temple because her adrenaline was still pumping. She said, “Why did you do us like this? Don’t you know your father and I have been frantically looking for you?!” Jesus looked at his mother and said, “Did you not know that I had to be in my father’s house?”

Three things we need to know about our children.

1. Don’t assume you know where they are. You need to KNOW where they are. You know by communicating. Communicating with a 12-year-old can be difficult but it’s necessary. They are growing but not grown. Even after this conversation Jesus went back with his parents and submitted himself to them and he grew in wisdom, stature, and favor.

2. Know that they have to be in the Father’s house. We need to be intentional about our children receiving instruction in age appropriate biblical teaching in church. I wasn’t asked by my mother if I wanted to go to church. She made me go. It was the family custom to go to Passover. It was the choice of the boy Jesus to stay. If you train up a child in the way they should go chances are they will stay and not stray.

3. Know that your child needs the instruction of both parents. Jesus went home with his mother and father and he grew and matured. Even if parents aren’t together, they should still try to work together to co-parent for the sake of a well-rounded child. Tearing down the other parent tears down part of the psyche of the child. John is there for the early development of young Jesus but we don’t see him when he becomes a man. As much daddy time a child can get is crucial, but know that God will supplement the rest!

Dear Father God,

Help your children to raise their children. Parenting is a great challenge especially in the days we live in. We live in a world where our kids are hyper connected to cell phones, smart TVs, and iPads, but are disconnected from their parents. Turn the hearts of the fathers back to their sons and daughters. Help the children to honor their mothers and fathers that their days may be long upon the earth. Help us to know the hearts of our children so they can grow into the adults you’ve designed them to be.

In your son Jesus’┬áName,