For 18 years, our home was blessed by the presence of teenagers. But now that our youngest is in his 20s, my wife and I are all out of teenagers.

Those years were full of challenges and demands that sometimes zapped our strength and took all of our mental and emotional reserves. Along the way, we navigated the rough seas of the sudden death of one of our four teens. We also enjoyed the thrills of success and struggled through the turmoil of rebellion. As I look back on our experiment in parenting, we learned some valuable lessons:

• Some teens follow life in a straight line, while others zig-zag along life’s pathway. It’s best to “zig” with them in love and with courage.

• All teens need unconditional love because they live in a conditional world.

• A love of God’s Word is vital to successfully transferring faith from one generation to the next.

• Teens need to develop a relationship with Christ that is based not on rules but on a deep love of Jesus.

Has God placed any young people in your life? Whatever their age, love them unconditionally. Help them learn to love God’s Word. Show them how to have a deep love for Jesus. And hold on!