If you find yourself in a grand quandary, chances are you are missing the obvious. No, I don’t mean that all difficult questions come equipped with easy answers. The point isn’t that every complex question can only be reached through muddling up simple questions. Instead what I mean is that most of the time we spend on real brain teasers would be better spent on kid’s play. Suppose, for instance, I’m trying to figure out a healthy way for my children to spend time with other children. I’ve read all the arguments back and forth on age segregation. I’ve heard all the anecdotal evidence there is on both sides—Suzy’s son ran off and joined the army because she wouldn’t let him play with his cousin’s Gameboy—or Jim’s daughter ran off and married a roadie because Jim let her attend a slumber party at the pastor’s house when she was eight. I’ve even heard the wise wisdom that says these questions must be answered with wisdom. But I’ve still missed the point.
Analyzing all the stuff we homier-than-thou types like to analyze isn’t how we keep the hearts of our children. Certainly our children should dress modestly. Of course their identity ought to be toward their family rather than their peer-group. And yes, truth be told dating is not only dumb but dangerous. Nevertheless, the way we keep the hearts of our children isn’t found in mixing together the precise formula of this peculiar habit and that one. It’s not like if our daughters wear head coverings Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays they’ll stay loyal, but if they wear them Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays they will rebel. We don’t nurture our children in the faith by reading the tea leaves exactly right. Rather we keep the loyalty of our children by doing these two things—first, we love them. Second, we tell them we love them.
If you’re thinking too hard, you’re trying too hard. Go back to the beginning and do the simple things. Not only is Jesus’ yoke easy and His burden light, but you don’t need a Ph.D. to know how to carry it. So one more time. Don’t want to lose your children to the world? Good. Love them. Tell them you love them. Repeat.