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--A Talk to Adults and Young People!--By Maria         Maria #300

                1. (Introduction:) The following talk was originally part of the "State of the Nation '95" Letter, but because of its length, and because you may want to refer to it again and again, we are publishing it on its own, for your convenience and easy review.

                2. Part of this GN is directed to you adults and YAs, on the subject of shepherding our teens and JETTs. This will be of particular interest to parents and teen or JETT shepherds, but I would appreciate it if everyone would be sure to read this GN, even if you are not personally involved with shepherding our young people right now. The counsel in this GN can be applied to other ages as well, so please don't just skip it or read it quickly, thinking it doesn't relate to you or your ministry. We're all responsible for our teens whether we work directly with them or not. We're certainly responsible to pray for them and to be respectful of them. We're a Family and we all affect each other, and we need to know what's going on in each other's lives and generally how to treat each other lovingly and understandingly.

                3. Also, you young people--especially you junior teens--wouldn't want to miss reading this GN, as there's some information in here that I think you'll be very interested in, as it talks about how the Charter relates to you. You will learn more about what you can expect from the Charter and what the Lord expects of you in this new day of living the Love Charter.

Shepherding Junior Teens

                4. I've heard that some of you parents and teen shepherds have questioned whether you should be shepherding your young people. Somehow you have come to the mistaken conclusion that the Charter means that you're supposed to let them do what they want. Here's a portion of a letter I received about shepherding our youth, junior teens in particular:

                5. "Before the Charter, a lot of junior teens in our area got into some System things. They were into junk food, reading System books without the adults knowing about it, etc. Once the Charter came out, the junior teens in our former big Home seemed to use it to their advantage. They started to get into caffeinated drinks, playing computer games for hours at a time, and they didn't want anyone to correct them.

                6. "Most of us adults didn't want to infringe on their freedom, but on the other hand, we have wondered if this is right. We had a meeting about it and set down guidelines which were reluctantly followed by the junior teens. The main teen shepherd wondered if we were being too strict with the teens. Now our former big Home has divided into three smaller Homes, and in our new Home we are facing the same battle; in fact, now our own three junior teens are even more blatant, turning on the TV to watch sports live, etc., and if we try to set down guidelines, they call us old bottles.

                7. "We adults have discussed this, and we realize that it mentions in the Charter how we as disciples are supposed to resist worldly influences, and also if there's anything that's not in the Charter, we are supposed to go to the Word and counsel with each other about it.

                8. "I have two senior teens, and even though I'm not a teen shepherd, I feel at least I have learned a little just from being with my own teens. I see that junior teens still need quite a bit more shepherding than older ones, and it seems to me it's wrong to let them have free rein over some of the things I mentioned above. To me, it seems that the teens would like to try everything out, but we adults must point them to the Word as the standard. We need to help them in their weaknesses, and not compromise if what they want to try out is not good for them. Also, it affects the JETTs and OCs in our Home, to the point that they started to turn on the TV on their own and watch anything they felt like.

                9. "How to apply the Charter to junior teens is a little bit hazy to a lot of parents that I discussed this with."

                10. The shepherding of our young people is a very big subject, but in this instance I'll try to touch on some points about shepherding junior teens. Of course, I can't possibly cover it extensively in this GN because there are so many variables. The circumstances affecting the junior teens vary greatly from Home to Home, such as the quality of the shepherding they receive. Junior teens are at different levels of maturity and dedication, so we really can't accurately judge them as a group, nor fairly "lump" them all together and make sweeping statements about them. Also, the attitudes and behavior of the adults, YAs and senior teens affect the junior teens, so that needs to be considered as well. How the junior teens are treated and whether they are generally challenged also affects their behavior and their responses to the demands that are placed upon them. So as you can see, this is a complex subject, but I'll try to mention a few general principles for shepherding young people, which I hope will be a help.

                11. I don't know all sides to the situation described in the above letter, but judging from what this dear mother says, she has drawn the right conclusions! You parents cannot abdicate your responsibilities to shepherd your junior teens or JETTs or any of our young people. They still need your love, direction, inspiration, encouragement, instruction and correction.

                12. Both the junior teens and some of the adults in the situation described above may have gotten the wrong idea concerning the "freedoms," "choices" and "rights" allowed the junior teens. If you want to know the rights of junior teens, read the Charter, pages 38-41. You'll see that there is nothing in there that gives junior teens (or JETTs) the right to watch unrecommended television, play hours and hours of unedifying computer games, refuse correction from their elders, call their parents old bottles, etc.

                13. Even if they call you adults old bottles, I call you parents and shepherds! I want to remind you that the Charter has not done away with shepherding, parenting, discipline and obedience! We still have shepherds, we still have parents, we still have discipline and obedience. Any of you parents who let your kids--of any age--get away with such behavior for any length of time are failing as parents and may eventually find that no one wants to live with you because you've allowed your kids to become rotten apples and teen terrors. "A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame" (Pro.29:15).

                14. Now of course I realize that not all of you junior teens are causing problems. Many of you are a great blessing in our Homes, and some of you carry quite a bit of responsibility. God bless you!--I'm proud of you for that! However, even though many of you are very responsible and quite mature, you still need to be under the jurisdiction of your parents.

                15. Remember that the disciplinary guidelines in GN 591 apply to you if you are under the age of 16. Here is a summary of two points listed on page 195 of the Charter:

                --"Home members must meet regularly to establish united behavioral and disciplinary standards. This involves agreeing on Home rules, defining appropriate correctional methods, and establishing clear limits for any correctional discipline or punishment to be given. The age and maturity of children involved must be taken into consideration.

                --"Clearly inform children of the behavioral rules of the Home and be sure they know the consequences for disobedience. Keep the standard you expect within reach, the rules few and simple, use moderation, make exceptions if needed, and do not over-correct children."

                16. (I'm sorry, junior teens, that you have to be under the category of "children" in the above quotes, but technically, even in the System, for purposes of classification, not only would you be called children at the age of 14 and 15, but in many countries, those under 18--and in other countries, those under 21--are called children for legal and business purposes. So don't get sensitive and don't get offended. We know you're not little kids and we don't look at you as such!--Unless you act like them!)

                17. Each Home's voting members are expected to discuss and come to an agreement concerning your Home rules. In the case of your Home's behavioral and disciplinary standards, it would probably help if you voting members would include the junior teens in the discussion and establishment of such rules. They will no doubt be much more inspired to follow the rules if they have a part in making them.

                18. One Shepherdess reported: "Junior teens are very affected by most Home decisions about schedules, home policies, etc. I've seen instances when the younger teens were not encouraged to speak up at Home meetings or share their ideas, and then they got a little resentful or bitter about it, as they felt they didn't have much of a say in things."

                19. As you know, there was recently an amendment to the Charter allowing you junior teens more participation in Home Council meetings. That amendment reads: "Even though our members under the age of 16 and new disciples are not voting members, you are encouraged to seek their opinions and participation in Home matters that concern them. Whenever practical, our junior teens should be permitted to attend Home Council meetings covering matters pertaining to them" (Charter Amendment No.2). Adults, even though the junior teens are not voting members, they should still be treated lovingly and respectfully, and their views on matters that affect them should be seriously considered.

                20. One of our teen shepherds had the following suggestion about how to have the opinions and feelings of junior teens represented at Home Council meetings. He said:

                21. "It seems to me that if adults and junior teens all attend a Home Council meeting together and they discuss and vote on controversial matters right on the spot, the teens may have a rather difficult time. The teens may experience great difficulty in diplomatically expressing their burdens and viewpoints. They may feel very intimidated by the older Home members.

                22. "My suggestion would be to have one or more adults or YAs [of the junior teens' choice] talk heart-to-heart with the teens, and then that adult or YA can fairly represent them and their views in the united Home Council meeting, being like an intercessor. Even if this adult or YA doesn't know much about how to shepherd teens, if he or she has a great deal of love and understanding, this will be clear to the junior teens and they will learn to trust that person, and they'll share their innermost feelings. I believe good communication is the main ingredient that is often missing when teens are unhappy or frustrated."

                23. Of course, you don't have to do this in your Home; it's a suggestion for you and your junior teens to consider. Also, whether your junior teens have their views presented in Home Council meetings by this type of adult or YA representative would need to be their choice, according to what they feel most comfortable doing and what they feel will be most effective, because the new amendment to the Charter encourages their actual attendance and participation in meetings that pertain to them. If the junior teens in your Home don't like the idea of someone being like an "intercessor" for them, then another alternative might be to have an adult or YA representative who is familiar with the teens' opinions and desires who could not only help present their views at the Home Council meeting but also help encourage the teens themselves to share their new ideas prayerfully and diplomatically.

                24. Still on the subject of having junior teens be a part of the decision-making on matters that affect them, another of our folks commented:

                25. "I don't think the teens should be allowed to do their own thing, watch whatever they want to on TV, listen to whatever System music they want to, or have the attitude that their rights are being infringed upon when the adults try to correct them. I think one of the keys is to talk about these issues at a Home Council meeting, with the junior teens present, pray about it and come to agreement about what will and will not be allowed in the Home.

                26. "Each Home has to decide upon their own guidelines, within the boundaries the Charter allows, but there can still be a pretty big difference from one Home to another as far as what the Home members consider `ungodly, negative influence' that should be avoided. The things that are very clear in the Charter are easy to decide on, but there are still a lot of things that need to be fine-tuned amongst the personnel of the Home. They have to discuss things and vote on them, so I think that if the junior teens were a part of that discussion, prayer, seeking the Lord about it, and were `part of the solution,' so to speak, it would help them to accept the rules the Home decides on."

                27. One of our Home members commented:

                28. "What is quite alarming is when JETTs, junior teens, or any of our young people, for that matter, get into a sassy, defiant, disrespectful and intimidating attitude toward their elders, their parents and shepherds, demanding their `rights' in a bad spirit. This kind of spirit is very, very strong in the System, and brought out in movies, TV, and manifested more and more around us, and some of our kids may pick up on that spirit from the System. Already this age is a naturally emotional, rebellious age, an age of testing and decision-making.

                29. "When kids think something is `their right,' what do they back this up with, to prove that it is their right to do so? Do the adults ask the kids where does it specify in the Word or the Charter that they have this right? Do the adults lovingly and patiently sit down with the kids and say, `About your request to do such-and-such, let's look in the Word and the Charter to see what it has to say on the subject first, so that from there we can define what our choices and options are'? Then do they look it up in the Word together and see what it says, and then discuss it together and with others involved, and agree together?

                30. "Another factor is what kind of spirit the kids and also the adults are in. Are the kids in a defiant spirit, demanding things that are against the Word? Or are they just frustrated and wanting to be trusted a little more and given a few more choices? When kids get to be teens like that, it seems that the adults need to go to the Word with them and research it, and reason with them and discuss it.--Rather than just saying, `You can't do something because I said so.'

                31. "But if all else fails and they don't accept the Word and it's clear that what they are wanting is against the Word and there are no allowances for it, and push comes to shove, then the bottom line is they don't have any rights outside the ones given to them in the Word and the Charter; and according to the Word and even System law, their parents have authority over them. Of course, I know we don't want to be hard-line with our kids like that, but neither do we want to let them run over our adults and intimidate them and pollute the rest of the children with worldly and evil influences."

                32. Parents and teen shepherds need to work together and make wise decisions together for the benefit of the junior teens and JETTs. You parents should not feel so intimidated by the opinions of the teen shepherds and their training that you don't stand up for what you feel is right. Also, you teen shepherds should not be forceful or opinionated, but should be willing to prayerfully and humbly seek the Lord's will with the other voting members of the Home, especially the parents of the kids you shepherd, as after all, they do have the final responsibility concerning the welfare of their children. (See Responsibilities of Parents, paragraph #1, page 32 of the Charter.)

                33. When you make decisions and pray about what to do, you need to take into consideration the applicable points in the Charter, but I would expect you to also use all the wisdom and training that you've received through years and years of studying the Word! The Charter gives you the general guidelines and principles by which to live, but you can't just throw out all the guidance and counsel in the Letters on a subject. For example, there are numerous Letters that talk about how to teach, train and discipline teens, the need to avoid the evil influences of the System, how to correct kids, as well as how to understand, challenge and inspire them. When you think about all that has been printed on these subjects, along with the guidance in the Charter, you'd think it would be fairly easy to judge the above situation and come to the right conclusion--that you can't let your teens just run wild! You'll have Hell to pay if you do!

                34. So when making decisions, study the Charter, study the Word and counsel together, don't just go by what you vaguely remember the Charter says. Get the Charter out and research it. Go to the Letters. You'll be surprised how many questions a little study and research will answer! But if you still can't figure out what to do, based upon your prayerful discussions and your researching the Word and the Charter, then come before the Lord in prayer and ask for His specific guidance.

                35. Also, please keep in mind that even though some specific action or policy may be authorized in the Letters, that doesn't necessarily mean that you should put it into practice in your situation exactly as it is presented in the Word. So besides searching the Letters for counsel about a question or problem that you encounter, you also need to see how the Lord wants you to apply that counsel to your particular situation.

                36. Upon hearing me say this you might ask, "Well, why should we even look in the Word at all, if we aren't sure we're going to be able to do what it says to do?" The answer to that question is that you need to look in the Word for the principles and the basics, and you can even consider how it was applied in the particular situation described in the Letter, but the application won't necessarily always fit your situation exactly. The principles are important and necessary, and they are what you need to look for in the Word and follow.

                37. For example, where it says in the Charter that DO members should minimize and resist ungodly and unedifying influences in their lives, that's a principle that should be followed. But it's not always altogether clear what is an "ungodly and unedifying influence," so you may need to hear from the Lord specifically concerning questions along this line that arise in your Home.

                38. Likewise, we try to follow the basic principle that whatever we do should not hurt anyone and should always be done in love. But sometimes something the Lord leads you to do to help someone may inadvertently hurt someone else, so in such a case there must be an interpretation and an application of this principle. Most of all, the only way to know how to really apply the Word in some cases is to pray and ask the Lord what to do in your specific situation, and hear from Him often in prophecy, so He can give you the specific direction you need for your situation.

Teens Need Challenge, Responsibility and Freedom--with Supervision!

                39. When reading about junior teens behaving in the manner described in the above letter, I can't help but ask myself why. Why are they so rebellious and unhappy? Why are they not more challenged? What do they need? And are you adults, YAs and senior teens doing all you can to make their lives what they should be?

                40. I think you'll find that the way your junior teens behave will have a lot to do with how they're treated, how challenged they are, whether they have an avenue to express their views, as well as expend their energies. They can't just sit around the house! They need ways to channel all that energy they have through responsibilities, witnessing, projects, studies, activities, dialogue and interaction, vigorous get-outs, new things to learn, etc.

                41. They also have to be given some freedom, within reason. They won't be happy if they're overprotected and just constantly told what to do with no personal choice in the matter. They want to grow up, they want independence, but they should be given it with supervision. You should let them burn free a little, when possible, or they'll rebel against such strong control. They can't just work and do their duties and go through the motions and obey the rules, without being challenged, inspired, fed spiritually, and shown appreciation and respect. A YA who is in WS, when talking about what teens need, commented:

                42. "One thing that really helps keep teens challenged and doing the right thing is giving them responsibility--giving them something that they know they are in charge of and that they are responsible to take care of. Also, letting them have some freedoms, within certain guidelines, of course, is very important to teens, as is having a clear standard in the Home of what's what. I think teens appreciate help and guidance, but those who instruct the teens need to make sure that it's done in love and that they're not treating the teens condescendingly or stopping them from learning how to do things through their own experiences. If they do that, the teens can become rebellious or resentful of the correction or the person giving it. Of course there are times when teens need to be told how to do something, but there is a balance that needs to be found between instructing the teens and letting them learn for themselves through experience." (See also "Independence through Dependency," ML #2534, GN 386, and "The PER--The Personal Encouragement Revolution!" ML #2865, GN 553.)

                43. On this same subject, a teen shepherdess commented:

                44. "Adults have a tendency to get caught up in their own world of adult responsibilities and problems, and become a bit stagnant and old-bottlish, and look at and treat their kids like little children, which is extremely frustrating for teens. If junior teens feel their parents are like that, and that they aren't being listened to and considered and that the parents and shepherds aren't really trying to understand and give them some choices and freedom and responsibility and treat them more grown up, they are going to get awfully discontent and rebellious."

                45. Teens can be given certain freedoms, along with definite responsibility and proper supervision, if you agree on it together as a Home, and they are trustworthy. There is nothing wrong with allowing the teens the freedom to do and try new things, as long as they are keeping up with their other duties and responsibilities, and are staying in a good spirit. Why not allow them the freedom to choose their witnessing spots, wear clothes that are popular teen styles or try modern hair styles within reason, and have new experiences when possible? If the teens love the Lord, are willing to receive correction, have a hunger for the Word, and do their share around the house, love the lost and faithfully witness with their whole hearts, they can be trusted with more freedom, provided they're willing to be shepherded in that freedom. Someone commented:

                46. "I think we should try to see where the teens are at in their hearts, more than just judging them on the outward appearance which, unfortunately, happens in some Homes. In other words, as long as the teens dress well, obey the rules and don't cause trouble, the adults are happy; but that doesn't mean the teens are necessarily happy, like to witness, or have a hunger for the Word."

Watch Out for Unedifying Time Wasters!

                47. When I heard the above letter concerning the JETTs and junior teens of one Home, a question came to me: How is it that your kids have so much time on their hands that they can watch a lot of TV? It's one thing to watch scheduled movies and documentaries and various programs that have been planned to watch that are educational or good entertainment. But when we have so much to do for the Lord, how do your kids manage to have so much free time to just lounge around or watch TV or play computer games for hours?

                48. Also, what kind of sample are you adults, YAs and senior teens being to the JETTs and junior teens? Are you too wasting hour upon hour plopped in front of the TV watching trashy programs? Or are you engaging in other unedifying time wasters? Please also watch out about very worldly, violent, cool type movies (videos), which have an adverse effect on youth and adults alike! Our younger people need to see good samples in their parents and the other Home members. They need to see you excited about serving the Lord, busy for Him and redeeming the time.

                49. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not against people having some free time to relax and do the things they like to do. Nor am I against all television, System books or computer games, and the folks in my Home eat "junk food" occasionally. There are many edifying movies, and TV can be a source of inspiration and education, if handled well. As you know, Dad watched movies and documentaries with David and Techi, and they enjoyed them very much.

                50. Even watching sports on TV once in a while is not completely prohibited. Dad himself would occasionally watch sports with the kids, which he made into an enjoyable, as well as edifying, experience. He was always faithful to not only help the kids to have fun, but to show them that these things weren't really important and that they didn't need to feel deprived if these things weren't a major part of their life. He was also faithful in the course of events over time to make sure they knew the dangers of professional sports and the pitfalls and how people make it such a god, etc. So while they could enjoy watching a game once in awhile, just as they go outside and have their get-out and enjoy their games and sports, they knew what was behind it and they were able to choose the good and eschew the evil.

                51. The same goes for System books. Of course, I would not recommend spending precious time reading a lot of fiction, but there are many non-fiction books which could be edifying for your junior teens (and JETTs). If available in the country where you live and you feel your young people would benefit from them, you might consider obtaining books on a variety of subjects that would be both educational and enjoyable for your kids. Books on history, great lives, crafts, vocational topics, computer training, how-to's, etc., are very good and will help satisfy their desires to read and learn.

                52. There's nothing wrong with allowing your kids to read good books according to the guidelines of the Charter, which say: "Members who wish to read books, or have their children read books other than educational textbooks, or those on the recommended book lists, must receive the agreement of a simple majority of their Home" (Home Life Rules, point M, page 133). However, I caution you to not spend so much time reading even good System books that it takes away from the time you need to be spending studying the Bible and the Letters.

                53. I also don't rule out all computer games. Some Homes have found educational computer games to be very helpful. You might have to limit the amount of time spent playing them, so the kids don't go overboard. But if they're good educational games, or even some just for fun if they aren't violent, then it seems it would be fine to allow them, within limits. Of course, spending hours a day playing computer games would be too much. You have to find a good balance.

                54. On this subject, someone commented:

                55. "I read a pamphlet that covered how to prevent computer games from robbing your family of time together. It suggested that parents sometimes join their kids and play the games with them. Computer game playing can be enjoyable for kids and at the same time educational, as many games challenge the players to think, concentrate or use their reasoning skills, or they expand their horizons in some way. And if the parents join the children in playing the games, then it can also be a time of fellowship between parent and child. The child or teen sees the adult enjoying the game with them, and it helps them feel that the adult can relate to them as well, thus helping them to feel closer and more loved.

                56. "It also mentioned using computer game time as a shiner prize. Instead of nagging, `You're always playing computer games and you never take out the trash,' set up a guideline like, `Once you've taken out the trash and finished your studies, you can have half an hour (or hour, or whatever) of computer time.' After all, some kids really want to be allowed time on the computer, so instead of fighting against it, parents can use this desire to get positive results."

                57. After reading an advance copy of this section of the GN, a teen shepherd commented:

                58. "I was glad to read the point about not overreacting concerning sports, books, computer games, etc. I used to overreact to things, but have learned through tough experience to let the teens be teens and enjoy life, and now I even join in with them, and have fun while I shepherd them along the way. I find it's better to join them even in some activity that is a bit unusual and let them try it. I give them a little rope, and then discuss it as we go along and enjoy it together, even if it's just a one-time experimentation of something which doesn't become a regular activity."


                59. So to summarize: You adults are to continue to shepherd your junior teens (and of course your other young people as well). You cannot abdicate your responsibilities. The voting members of your Home should decide together on the behavior and disciplinary standard for your Home, taking into consideration the thoughts and feelings of the junior teens. When making decisions, counsel together, study the Charter and the Word, and if need be, ask the Lord to speak in prophecy concerning anything you're not sure about. Parents and teen shepherds need to work together.

                60. If your junior teens are rebellious or discontent, try to find out why. Check your heart to see what kind of samples you're being. You should treat the teens as lovingly and respectfully as possible, listening to them, considering their feelings and desires, and giving them choices within God's will whenever possible. You can give them certain freedoms, if they handle them well and are responsible.

Some Advice for You Junior Teens!

                61. I want to talk some more to you junior teens now. I appreciate those of you who are cheerfully applying yourselves and doing your best for Jesus. There are many of you who are dedicated and doing well. Praise the Lord! When we were seeking the Lord about some of the problems that have come up with you teens, He gave very encouraging words of commendation for those of you who are standing strong for Him. He was speaking about all you dedicated young people, and that includes you junior teens.

                62. He said: "Behold, you see problems, and there are many problems and difficulties and obstacles yet to be overcome, but likewise there are many stars, bright and shining stars! There are many young warriors and soldiers and princes and princesses in whom I am well pleased. For this is My young, lively, fresh, new church in whom I am well pleased. There are many who have taken a stand of dedication and commitment, who have given their lives and their hearts unto Me without reservation, those who have determined to live and die for the Words of David. These are My young warriors in whom I am well pleased!"

                63. God bless all of you young people who are living for Jesus with your whole hearts! I appreciate you and admire you! Praise the Lord! I want to make it clear that I don't think all of you junior teens are doing your own thing and causing a lot of problems. But because there are some problem situations, and they seem pretty widespread, I need to address those. I hope those of you who are doing well won't get your feelings hurt or get discouraged or feel like you're getting unjustly accused. This is a case of that old saying, "If the shoe fits, wear it." Thanks for being understanding.

                64. I know it has been hard for some of you with the onset of the Charter, as you've felt you were classified with the children and that you have fewer privileges and more restrictions than you had before. I'm sorry if you feel that way, but you junior teens are still minors, not adults. I know that is hard for some of you to accept, but we had to draw the line somewhere, and as I said earlier, in many countries people under 18 are minors, and in some countries the age of minors extends to 21. Minors are expected to obey their parents, they can't always just do as they please. In fact, in many countries, if someone is still living under their parents' roof, they are expected to continue to obey their parents, even if they are not a minor.

                65. Does it surprise you that you are still required to obey your parents? The Charter has not changed that! If you want to review what is expected of you and what rights you are guaranteed in the Family, please read pages 38-41 of the Love Charter.

                66. It surprises and saddens us to hear that some of you junior teens think that you can now just do your own thing, ignore your parents and shepherds, and get into as much System stuff as you wish! I think you might have misunderstood the Charter somewhere along the line, and you've gotten the impression that you now have these "freedoms" or "choices," which basically amount to doing whatever you want, even disobeying. To the contrary, you don't have choices to do things that are wrong or unedifying or against our basic beliefs!--Nobody does! Your choices are simply between the various alternate good things within God's will.

                67. The big problem with some of you kids doing your own thing and thinking you now have a right to choose to disobey is that you're not only wreaking havoc in your Homes, and being very bad samples to your younger brothers and sisters, but you're also setting yourselves up for disappointment. When you think you have "freedoms" that you don't really have, then you think your parents or the other adults are "ripping you off" or giving you a "raw deal"--when actually it's you who are wrong, not them.

                68. You're only going to be disappointed if you mistakenly expect things that are not granted to you under the Charter. It's not that you have all these "rights" or "choices" to do whatever you want, and the adults are now coming down on you and infringing on your rights. That is not the case. Under the Charter, you are expected to obey your parents! The Bible also says, "Children, obey your parents" (Eph.6:1). This is nothing new! Even the senior teens, who are voting members, are still under their parents' jurisdiction in some matters. For example, they can't move Homes without getting their parents' permission. They have to have their parents' permission to get married. Concerning serious medical affairs, they are still under adult supervision. They have no vote or responsibility in Home financial matters. They also are expected to obey all the Home rules, just like the adults are.

                69. Of course, it is nice if your parents and the other adults treat you with respect and make it easy for you to obey, and we strongly recommend that they do!--But you should not hold it over their heads and refuse to obey them if they don't! I wish all adults would treat you well, lovingly and respectfully. They should do that. That is the ideal! But if they don't, it is still the Lord's will for you to obey them.

                70. For thousands of years, parents haven't treated their kids nearly as lovingly and respectfully as your parents treat you, but the kids have still had to obey them, because they were their parents, because the Lord knew that in order to become strong, fruitful adults, all children need someone who they can feel connected to, who they will receive love and attention from, as well as supervision and discipline. It's not like we or the Lord are depriving you of freedoms that most kids your age get. Only in a few countries like the US and parts of Western Europe do teens have more so-called "freedoms," and you can see where it's gotten both them and their countries!

                71. For thousands of years before this, kids have had to obey, buckle down, study and work hard. It's only this new generation, which is called "Generation X" in the US, whose parents have totally abdicated their parental responsibilities and neither given their young people the love they needed nor required them to obey, and you can see for yourselves the absolutely horrific fruit that it has borne!--Not only in the US but in other countries where such permissiveness has been allowed.

                72. The majority of teen kids today in the First World are becoming completely self-serving and self-preoccupied! They're looking to do only what feels good. They have no conscience, no concept of right and wrong, no desire to serve their fellow man. They are called "people who do only what they want to do," that is, people who yearn to be completely free of all restraint, expectations and responsibilities. Those from many professions and walks of life are recognizing that the order and progress of society as we know it will suffer, if not collapse, when placed in the hands of such a selfish, ill-prepared, self-centered generation.

Adults, Have Love, Patience and Tolerance!

                73. Now, don't go to the opposite extreme, adults, and start a big campaign to jump all over the junior teens. Teen years are difficult years! A second-generation adult (someone who is over 21, who grew up in the Family) in our Home commented:

                74. "From what I've seen on the field, as well as from my own personal experience, the junior teen age is just about the most difficult age of all, along with the JETT age. Ages 12 to 15 are tumultuous years for young people as they start progressing into teenhood physically, mentally and emotionally, but often without the maturity that comes in later teen years. Teens at this age can be naturally impatient, resistant to authority, independent, and somewhat lost, as they are shedding their childhood but haven't yet reached full maturity."

                75. Yes, so true. Growing up is difficult! It's common for junior teens to feel frustrated and like no one understands them. So please reach out to them in love and understanding. It's easy for you adults to get frustrated with the junior teens because of their problems, and just start cracking down pretty hard, instead of being understanding and using persuasion, reasoning and communication.

                76. Please remember the very great spiritual battles that the teens have to fight, like I mentioned in the PER, and that these can't be fought in the arm of the flesh, but they have to be fought in the Spirit, with prayer and the Word. When you are aware of how the Enemy attacks our teens, then you're more patient with them, and even when they do have problems, you understand better the difficult time they're going through. Recognizing the intense spiritual attacks our young people undergo should remind us of how much they desperately need our help and support. (See "The PER," ML #2865:33-38, GN 553.)

                77. If you recognize that this is one of the most difficult time periods of their lives, you won't be so inclined to expect too much of them too quickly. And as you patiently and lovingly help them weather the storms of early teenhood, they will blossom into greater maturity in their later teen years, and at that time they'll naturally lose interest in many of the childish things that were so important to them in their junior teen years.

                78. As Dad said, it takes the Love of God, the patience of Job and the wisdom of Solomon to handle young people properly, but love, patience, wisdom and tolerance, while still upholding the standard, pay off. Whereas cracking the whip out of frustration will only alienate the teens and possibly even cause an explosive backlash. Lowering the rod out of frustration and impatience will not bear good fruit in your teens' lives, and may even make them more rebellious and difficult to handle. So pray for love, understanding and tolerance, while at the same time standing firm in your convictions and adherence to the general principles of the Word.

                79. And when problems come up, remember that getting together with your teens and discussing the problems together usually brings the best results. Ask them what they think the problems are, and what they think the solutions are, based on what they have been taught from the Word. Our teens have a pretty good knowledge of the Word, and they'll probably come up with the right answers, with some help if necessary. And they'll be much more willing to follow through with those solutions, because they'll have reached those conclusions themselves, rather than having had them simply handed down to them by the "older generation."

                80. Please do all you can to treat the teens respectfully and lovingly, but firmly, and expect them to comply with your Home rules just like everyone else. The Charter wasn't published to start a free-for-all, everyone-do-their-own-thing attitude! Neither our non-voting members or our voting members are free to just do anything they want without correction or shepherding.

                81. If you voting members deliberately break the rules or contravene the Charter, you can expect to receive some correction from your teamwork and other Home members for it. You will see that if you decide to willfully disobey the rules, you're going to suffer the consequences, which will help you learn to accept responsibility for your decisions. The same is true with you younger ones. If you disobey your parents or your Home rules on purpose, especially repeatedly, then you can expect some discipline, according to the discipline guidelines. So everyone, young and old, should cooperate as much as possible with the rules of their Home, and those who deliberately disobey should expect that your shepherds, or your parents if you are younger, will correct you.

                82. So Home teamworks, you can't pull back on the shepherding of your flocks. That is still your responsibility! Seeing how adults are so reluctant to shepherd junior teens, it stands to reason that you Home teamworks may also be even more reluctant to shepherd adults! Please review the "Responsibilities and Authority of Home Officers," pages 89-91 of the Charter.

Victory Comes Through Honest Communication, Prayer and the Word!

                83. A couple of weeks after we received the above-mentioned letter from a mother who was asking about shepherding our young people, she wrote again. In her second letter, she gave an inspiring update on how things were progressing in her Home. She said:

                84. "After sending the letter last week asking you about shepherding junior teens, I'm sure you must have prayed for us, because a day or two later we had a breakthrough. We adults were able to pray and address the situation. The teen shepherd shared how he felt he had let the standard down with the teens, so we got to pray together for the Lord's help. After that, we had extra talk times with each of the teens. We found out how they felt about things, shared our side of the story, addressed the areas we'd like to work on and go to the Word on, etc. At that time the `Teen Sex Policies' GN arrived, which included a reprint of part of the Letter, `Serve One Another In Love.' That helped us all to remember how much we need shepherding. Since then, we adults and teens work together much better. We still have a lot of NWOs to work on, but we are more of a team. Thank you for your prayer and concern!"

                85. This is such a good example of how if you are really desperate for an answer and you seek the Lord, He can show you what to do! With the Lord's help, you can find solutions to your problems, without having to have leadership come in to sort things out and tell you what to do. Through prayer, communication and studying the Word, the Lord led these dear folks to come to some of the same conclusions that I have shared in this Letter, even though they had not yet read this counsel. God bless them for going to the Lord together, and seeking and finding His answers to the difficulties they were facing.

Please Pray for Our Young People!

                86. We have talked a lot about the different needs of the young people and how to help them overcome their weaknesses and be happier serving the Lord, but I think a big factor that people don't take into account, and a method of correcting things that we don't employ nearly as much as we should, is prayer. We've heard time after time how when people have to be away from their kids for some reason, then they start really using prayer power, and they see the Lord doing wonderful things that could never have been done if they had been just trying to do things in the arm of the flesh. Now we don't have to be away from our kids to avail ourselves of the power of prayer, it's just that sometimes we naturally pray more when there's nothing else we can do! Praying our teens through whatever rough times they're encountering is our responsibility, and seeking the Lord through intercessory prayer for them will do more than we realize to help them overcome their difficulties and weaknesses.

                87. Of course, praying isn't the only solution, because we have to put feet to our prayers, but I think it has a great deal to do with it! In fact, when praying about the teen problems, the Lord said the solution would be brought through desperate prayer! He also said, "Wait patiently and pray for them, for the prayers that come to My ears, I answer. The fervent prayers, I shall answer. Therefore, pray fervently and diligently for them, for I will hearken unto the voice of your cry. This shall be great support unto these dear ones.

                88. "I will bring the victory and I will give the strength and faith needed if you will just call unto Me and look unto Me and trust Me, if you will but lift these ones up to Me in prayer. For behold, Satan has desired to have these that he may sift them as wheat, but I have prayed for them that their faith fail not. Have you prayed for them that their faith fail not?

                89. "For I am requiring of each of you that you pray for and love these young ones as if they were your own, as if they were your own flesh and blood.--That you look into each one's eyes and heart and see their need as if they were your own flesh and blood, and give them the love and care and provision and prayer that you would give your own."

                90. Please pray for our young people! They need your prayers desperately!

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                91. (Introduction from Mama: Our WS pubs proofreaders regularly read the new pubs and share their reactions before these pubs are sent to the Family. Frequently I make clarifications or additions in the GNs as aresult of the opinions and ideas they share. In this case, however, I prefer to print the comments that one of our shepherdesses wrote after reading this GN. She has had a fair bit of experience with young people, so I feel you can benefit from her point of view. In some cases she is pointing out statements in my Letter that some of you might misapply if you don't read them carefully and prayerfully and balance them with other things that we've written. I can't possibly cover every single angle of teen shepherding in one Letter, so I pray her reaction will serve as a balance, and that through it you will see that there are many sides of the situation to consider when shepherding young people.)

Dear Mama,

                92. I like this Letter very much! I think it is going to be super terrific. I had a few points to comment on about things we have been learning here or things that I have wondered about.

                93. The person writing to you says, "We adults must point [the teens] to the Word as the standard." (See para.8.) I wonder about how this principle of "upholding the standard" is put into practice. Knowing myself and how I was in the past, especially when I first came to this Home, it made me wonder if this concept is sometimes misunderstood. For example, I was too strict and self-righteous. I have noticed this in other people as well. While there is a standard in the Word, I think there are many different ways that it can be applied, depending on the situation and circumstances. I feel that perhaps some of us adults have come to our own conclusions or opinions about what the standard is, not all of which are necessarily right, and maybe this in some respects can negatively affect what we require of others in our efforts to "uphold the standard."

                94. I have sometimes tried to uphold the standard in a self-righteous, legalistic way, often by judging in a black-and-white fashion, which obviously is not what you mean, Mama, and not helpful or liberating for anyone. Also, my views have often been just too narrow-minded. Perhaps a good way to explain it would be like the Lord spoke to us in prophecy recently when He said: "Even though My way is a narrow way, it is not too narrow. There is lots of room to move. It is a straight path, and I do not want you to deviate off My path, but it is wider than you think. It is not so narrow that there is not room for different kinds of personalities, the different kinds of people I have made."

                95. A self-righteous, legalistic attitude can cause heartache and division in a Home, and a definite division between the young people and the adults. This is what happened to me. My wrong attitudes caused me to be out of unity with the Home, those I was working with, and also the dear teens and YAs I shepherded. But thank the Lord, there have been many victories, as I got the help and instruction I needed. I believe I can now say that I know that is not the way to operate, and now I have quite an aversion to that kind of thing. It has taken me six years to make sufficient changes, and look where I still am at--ha! I'm not perfect, but I am thankful that at least I am not where I was. Praise God!

                96. I wonder if some people might think "the standard" is very rigid and spiritual, when it doesn't always have to be that way. Maybe that misunderstanding colors adults' opinions on what "upholding the standard" is. It reminds me of years ago when I lived in another Home where things were handled too legalistically and strictly. I needed help, I was a naughty girl, but the shepherd's legalistic, hard way of handling me did not do the trick at all. It just made me feel more isolated. It was very hard to live under that dry legalism of so-called "living the Word" and "upholding the standard," without much joy and freedom of the Spirit.

                97. Then I spent a very short time at a different Home under loving, Spirit-led shepherding, and that brief stay did more for me than any of that former legalism had ever done. Thinking about this experience makes me wonder how we can help those who need to be freer in the Spirit and more Spirit-led.

* * *

                98. On a different subject, in our situation here we have at times gotten our eyes too close to the Home situation and needs and daily routines, so it becomes somewhat like having our noses up against a wall. At times like that we find we need to break out of the confines, and burst through into some real new ideas and approaches. Recently when this happened, rather than continuing on with basically the same old routine, the Lord helped us to branch out into the unknown. He gave us some new ideas and approaches that we hadn't been able to do before, or we hadn't yet thought of trying; and it felt like a huge breakthrough!

                99. Some kids require different approaches than others. For example, one of our dear junior teens here has been having some major battles. Thank the Lord, a door opened up for him to have a change of situations and surroundings, something really different than he was used to. In this new situation he was away from his peers and around more adults, which he liked, and it seemed to help him greatly.

                100. While reading this Letter and reflecting on this example, I was thinking how different strokes are needed to help different folks. Maybe some will do well with changes within their environment, but maybe some won't; maybe some will need a completely different approach. If we are always trying to help the kids as a group, just within the confines of our routines, or if we are not seeing them as individuals, we might not see the things that the Lord wants to use to give different ones the victories they need. We need to be open to what the Lord has for each person and what He wants to do to help them.

* * *

                101. The GN says: "Each Home's voting members are expected to discuss and come to an agreement concerning your Home rules. In the case of your Home's behavioral and disciplinary standards, it would probably help if you voting members would include the junior teens in the discussion and establishment of such rules. They will no doubt be much more inspired to follow the rules if they have a part in making them" (para.17).

                102. Sometimes it takes a very long time to get things all worked out. I think the times we here "fail" or miss the mark the most is when we do not take enough time to see things through slowly and steadily all the way to the end; instead we are hoping that the changes we seek will occur quickly and the communication will go fast, because there is shopping and clean-up and teaching kids and meetings and other things to move on to. Sometimes we who are implementing changes are too impatient when a person has a battle about something, instead of slowing down, explaining things more if need be, and waiting for them to catch on.

                103. For example, we had room changes recently to accommodate changes in our teens' lives. We had to ask one of our single men if he would mind changing rooms, but because we didn't present this to him so well, he had a big trial about it. Something good to remember is that we shepherds usually have quite a bit of time to let changes or the idea of something new sink in. Often we know why a change is needed in advance of other Home members, because we have to discuss it; therefore we have time to think about it, and it also has time to gel. But then it is unfortunate if we lack patience with the responses of others, and we wonder why they are not so quick to want to do something new. We need to take into consideration how much time and thought we were given, to let something grow on us.

                104. Perhaps we are also not willing or prepared to spend enough time helping teens adjust to changes, where necessary, but we expect them to come around pretty quickly. Then if they don't, we look at them as problems, like they're throwing monkey wrenches in the works. I think we need to slow down sometimes, and be willing to take the time needed to see things through with the teens. In other words, we need to not get pressured by our own timetables or conclusions, but learn to follow theirs also.

* * *

                105. In the GN, someone in your Home comments, "What is quite alarming is when JETTs, junior teens, or any of our young people, for that matter, get into a sassy, defiant, disrespectful and intimidating attitude toward their elders, their parents and shepherds, demanding their `rights' in a bad spirit. This kind of spirit is very, very strong in the System, and brought out in movies, TV, and manifested more and more around us, and some of our kids may pick up on that spirit from the System. Already this age is a naturally emotional, rebellious age, an age of testing and decision-making" (para.28).

                106. Sometimes I think kids might get in a bad spirit somewhat because of their circumstances or because they have not had enough of an outlet. I think I am like a kid sometimes, or have been in the past in this respect. I used to get pretty icky when I did not feel that my opinion was considered, or when I felt something was not right or was unfair, if I did not have an outlet to express an alternate opinion when I felt it was important enough to be considered. In such circumstances, frustration would just build up inside of me and eventually come out too forcefully. It can sometimes take time for someone who is like that or has that tendency to be heard out and talked with, so they can come around. It did for me. Of course, I had to learn a lot and face up to my weaknesses and get prayer, but I needed the outlet too.

* * *

                107. The staff member continues, "About your request to do such-and-such, let's look in the Word and the Charter to see what it has to say on the subject first, so that from there we can define what our choices and options are...." (para.29).

                108. I just hope people do not take this to the extreme, so unnecessary things do not become a huge issue and major research project.

                109. Also, I think the point you brought out, Mama, about the need to ask the Lord for specific direction when applying the counsel in the Letters is very important. It's so true that situations vary so much, depending on the people involved, the country you live in, your specific circumstances, etc., so you can't always apply the counsel in the Word exactly across the board to all situations. Sometimes the application of the counsel in the Word is appropriate for the situation that Dad or you were commenting on at that time, but in other cases, it would be unwise to apply the counsel exactly the same way to a different situation involving different people, different circumstances, and a different time period. We certainly do need the Lord's direct guidance through prophecy to help us balance the counsel in the Word and rightly divide the truth.

* * *

                110. The GN says, "It seems that the adults need to go to the Word with [the teens] and research it, and reason with them and discuss it.--Rather than just saying, `You can't do something because I said so'" (para.30).

                111. I wonder if we have to watch out that it is not just our old 40-year-old opinions that we think are "the standard." Perhaps we can sometimes put quite a twist on it. For example, one of our senior teen girls used to have trials because she thought some of us adults did not like her dressing certain ways, so to accommodate this she dressed like she thought we wanted her to, but not like she wanted to. But then after discussing this with her and realizing how she was feeling, we adults made an effort to change our attitudes and restrict our comments. Prior to this, some of our vocal opinions or statements about clothing and comments about what we liked or disliked caused her to feel squelched in that area.

                112. The next time the Lord supplied clothes for the teens, she felt much more free to choose the items that she personally liked. There was nothing outlandish or "off" about how she wanted to dress, so really it was no problem at all. But to her it had been a problem, as she wanted to dress more youthful than she had felt free to do. So perhaps that is an example of how we 40-year-old adults might feel a certain way, and our opinions or comments can inadvertently make a young person feel like they can't burn free.

* * *

                113. I really liked what you said, Mama, about the parents having a say in the teens' care. We childcare shepherds really, really need to hear the parents' point of view. It is something we cannot do without. Often the parents' opinion and views on a child's situation is a missing piece to the puzzle that I just cannot do without.--Otherwise things can sometimes get too strict or legalistic or not tender enough.

* * *

                114. The GN says, "As long as the teens dress well, obey the rules and do not cause trouble, the adults are happy; but that does not mean the teens are necessarily happy, like to witness, or have a hunger for the Word." I agree with this so much. Perhaps we do not look deep enough sometimes.

                115. Something I have experienced even as an adult is that if I am not as much of an inspirational person or as much into "rah rah" as some others, then I can feel like an old bottle, or like I don't quite fit in, or that I am somewhat labeled. I am usually more of a quiet or shy person, and if I have to try to be just like others who are more outgoing, then I feel that there is not enough room for individuality.

                116. It's not that I don't like inspiration or enthusiasm; perhaps sometimes it's a case of enjoying it in just a slightly different way or degree, and if there can be give and take in this, then I am happy. Otherwise it can be kind of tough and can cause me to feel unhappy and discontent. I wonder if sometimes kids feel that way too. It can be very stifling if you don't feel you can be an individual. I often have another idea or way I would like to try things, and if I didn't get a chance to put my ideas into practice from time to time, I would just fold up! How much more the teens must feel this way.

* * *

                117. The GN says, "They need to see you excited about serving the Lord, busy for Him and redeeming the time" (para.48).

                118. Yes, it seems there always has to be something, even if just a little thing, changing and revoluting in the Home to keep the kids inspired and so they don't feel like there's too much red tape or that it's like trying to move the Rock of Gibraltar to change things or try something new. I think we adults have to try real hard not to be so 40-ish and settled down and in ruts and liking things the way they are, as that is so frustrating for teens or for anyone who does not feel the same way we do. We need to make sure we keep stirred up and don't sew our sleeping bags tightly to our mattresses. Teens need a lot of change, so we adults need to stay alive and bendable too.

* * *

                119. The GN says, "You can give them certain freedoms, if they handle them well and are responsible" (para.60).

                120. I think sometimes we adults overreact to the idea that teens need supervision with their freedom. We make the supervision a little too rigid, and we breathe down their necks and look over their shoulders too much. I have found that supervision isn't always needed as closely as it may seem, and that supervision can be given with a little more liberation. I was over-supervising the teens I shepherded. After letting go and just giving them more slack or room, I realized that I was misapplying the word "supervision"--or better said, overapplying it--which only caused tension, heartache, bad feelings and a feeling of mistrust; but when I let go and give people room, then we all are much happier and everything is much simpler and more relaxed.

* * *

                121. We very much appreciate the teen shepherds, who daily give their lives for the teens, but I wonder if because of that, we sometimes look upon teen shepherds as having all the solutions and doing all the right things. Because we need the teen shepherds so much and the teens themselves often develop such a deep bond of friendship with them, we other adults who are less trained with young people and therefore feel less confident in ourselves easily opt to not get as involved with the young people as we should.

                122. Teens really benefit from the influence and input of many different people, and though the teens very much benefit from teen shepherds, they need others as well. Sometimes people get the idea that teen shepherds are the only ones that can handle or inspire teens. I too had that opinion in the past, but it's not true. It might take some time for the rest of us adults to develop a rapport with the teens, but if we do our best and are willing to put forth the time and effort, the Lord can do it, and I think the teens will benefit as a result.

* * *

                123. The GN says, "Teens at this age can be naturally impatient, resistant to authority, independent, and somewhat lost, as they are shedding their childhood but haven't yet reached full maturity" (para.74).

                124. I think we should expect rough times, ups and downs, etc., with teens, and try to endure it and not get too intense about it. If we know this and expect some problems and difficult times, then we can be a bit more objective about things that come up, and they won't look so devastating.

* * *

                125. The GN says, "We've heard time after time how when people have to be away from their kids for some reason, then they start really using prayer power" (para.86).

                126. The power of prayer is one of my greatest lessons from the PER. Before that, I would often nag and bug and pick on the teen girls here. I did not realize at the time that I was doing this, but I would just hang over their shoulders. Poor things!

                127. But then the PER came out and I had to change. I found that to rest my case with the Lord in prayer was sweet relief and brought joy back into all our lives, as I knew that He was watching closely enough that if He thought that my prayer was worthy, then He would honor it; and if He did not, then I certainly did not need to go off on a tangent or make a big deal about what I felt they were doing wrong.

                128. It was then that I realized that it was going to take time with the teens and YAs, and that they needed much more room to experience different things and to make mistakes. They also needed reassurance, and more influences in their lives than just mine. It certainly changed my life and theirs, and brightened our world. And even though there were things I wanted to see changed quickly, I found that if they were of the Lord, then He would take care of them. But He often had a much longer time table than I did, and a much wiser way than I would have ever thought to bring things to pass in a deep, lasting way. Praise the Lord!

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--Prophecies with the Lord's Solutions!

                129. (Introduction: This shepherdess mentioned that one of the junior teens in their Home was in need of some extra help in his personal life, so the Lord opened the door for him to move from one unit to another. When praying and asking the Lord for a confirmation concerning his move, some of the Home members of the unit to which the teen would be moving got together to hear from the Lord in prophecy. Those in the prayer meeting asked the Lord the following questions: 1.) Are we doing the right thing with him? 2.) How should he be handled? 3.) What does he need in his life? 4.) What is going to help turn his key and help him overcome his problems? 5.) What is the root of his problem? Following are excerpts of the prophecies the Lord gave. Although these prophecies were given for an individual, they give insight into the needs and battles of junior teens in general.)

                130. (Prophecy:) This one doubts the love of his family, and he needs to be shown a sample. He has heard many sermons, many things have been told to this one, but he seeks the proof of these things. He tries and tests you.

                131. But this is an age where these things are so. Therefore with understanding and love you must demonstrate your love and your faith --your faith in Me, and your faith for this one --that he can change and grow and be of value. For he is insecure and he feels that no one appreciates his value or worth as an individual, as a person, as a warrior, as a member of the Family.

                132. Therefore hold high the banner of love, of consideration. Hold high the standard of understanding. For this is a time of reasoning, and have I not even said in My Word, "Come now, let us reason together; for though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as wool. They shall be whiter than snow." And "if ye have fellowship one with another, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth you from all sin."

                133. Be diligent to know the state of this one, to understand. For he does not reject firmness nor authority, but he rebels in order to test you and to try you and to see why. "Why are these rules? Why are these regulations? Why do I have to do this? I thirst and I long to understand what is the reason and the meaning for these things which seem so vain to me, so useless, purposeless." Even so, as good parents in the Lord and as nursing fathers and nursing mothers, must you mete out to him words of wisdom and jewels, words fitly spoken, like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

                134. For if I do a new thing, will it not affect you? If I do a new thing, and this is a new day, will it not affect your children? Your children need to feel and be exercised and benefit from the new love and freshness of Spirit which I pour upon you. You cannot go back to the old, for this is a new day, a day of reckoning, of seeing, "What must I do now to make this love effective and wonderful and real in the lives of these who dwell beside me?"

                135. This is a good thing! And if you will follow on, you will know that it has been worth it all, and these things which do pain your heart and trouble your mind and make you sleepless in the night seasons are but for a moment and but for a time, to draw your attention to these young ones who have such great need.

                136. You will receive solutions from Me which will make the mountains melt away! This one tests you, but he is tested of Me also, and he is learning to grow into manhood. Therefore look closely at him, and pray. Pray for the Word for him, pray for the solutions for him, and I will give you new things to do with him which will inspire his heart and challenge his mind and help him to grow in the direction which I will lead. Therefore worry not, fear not, for this is My doing. This is a day of new beginnings, not only for this, your son, but for these who work with you to care for your little ones.

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                137. I am well pleased that you have asked counsel of Me regarding this one. I have brought him here that he may be surrounded with your love. For he has need of great love at this time, great understanding, great patience, even great mercy, to look beyond the faults and the failures, the rebellion, to see the state of his heart and the reason for his actions.

                138. His is as a spirit that stretches itself, that is growing and probing the directions that it can go in. Here it meets a hindrance, and here it meets a wall, and it looks for the areas where it can grow and where it can expand. When the obstruction is presented too harshly, it is brutal to his spirit, and he rebels. It's a learning time for him. And when his spirit is stretched and reaches out, it also retracts and snaps back and reacts wrongly.

                139. But much of this is the learning process that he must go through, as he is growing. For many of the younger restraints are removed as one moves into adulthood. And how would a young man learn to direct his steps when former restraints are removed? Doesn't he first try to see if something is allowed or not? Does he always wait for someone to tell him what is allowed? Or does he burst beyond the confines to see why it is not allowed, and to experiment with that which is not allowed? There are many different ways to learn.

                140. I have also brought him here because he has need of a mother's love, of the nurturing and care and patience that a mother has for her child. For it is as though you have had many teachers, but not many mothers. In this you should not hold back, for it is very important that he knows that your love will never go away, for in this he will learn about My Love that never goes away. He must see an example of love that lasts no matter what happens, a love that is there for him no matter what he does, for that is the way My Love is for you. For when you were yet sinners, I died for you.

                141. The love of a mother can draw out the needs of his heart, can listen sympathetically, can help him explore and understand the many, many things he does not understand. For he hath need of great love and great nurturing, of talking, of working, of being useful, without worrying about whether he'll be rejected. The rebellious or unloving deeds are rejected, but he is not rejected.

                142. But as his spirit is growing and expanding, it is probing for the horizons, for the limits. Many times these are not even rigid limits, for the limits also expand and contract according to the situation, according to the motivation, according to the need, according to the desire. For the youthful desires are strong, and these did I also experience as a young man. But I do have a way for him, and I will say, "Here is the way, walk ye in it."

                143. But now he even questions whether My way is a loving way, and if he questions this, why would he want to follow it? If he thinks that My way is the way of denial of all his desires and all his needs, he will be loath to follow it. He will not believe that My ways are ways of pleasantness and peace and enjoyment and life, and even fun, and especially of fulfillment and excitement and challenge and variety. If he does not believe this, he will not approach Me in faith. He will not be able to ask Me for My will concerning him.

                144. He must learn that I am Love, that I am not the source of all negativity and of all denial, but that I will grant unto him the desires of his heart as he puts his trust in Me, and as he loves Me. He will never be disappointed in Me, but it will take so much for him to learn this. And as you love him and understand him and talk with him, he will begin to see that My Love is real. As he is accepted here, accepted in the beloved, he will understand. And then he will understand about the limitations and restrictions when he sees that they are not the main thing, that My desire for him is that he grow and mature and take on more responsibility. As he sees and accepts and drinks in My Love, these things will be made more clear to him.

                145. Therefore it is wonderful in My eyes that you ask My leading and My direction, for I would inspire you to have great faith and a mother's love for him, that you not hold back, but that you give him the love and understanding that he needs; that you probe and plumb the depths, as Maria has done with Techi; that you find out what makes him tick; that you help him to find challenges that answer the needs of his heart; that you provide for him what he needs. What he needs is Me and My Word, but he needs other things too. As you speak with him and commune with him heart to heart, you will see what he needs.

                146. Therefore give your love a chance. Give this situation a chance, and allow him to be nurtured that he may blossom, that he may be happy. For it is not My will that you bring down the harsh rod upon him at this time, but that he be enfolded in Love, that he may have a chance, and that he may learn about My Love that never goes away, and that will meet all the needs and desires of his heart.

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                147. This one has qualities and characteristics that I have bestowed upon him, for I have fashioned him and designed him and made him for a purpose. Be not discouraged, but look out amongst you and see all the peculiar people and the peculiar ones that I have called and used, and who are fulfilling My purpose. Be not discouraged at these manifestations of problems and imbalances and growing pains and challenges.

                148. This one is a peculiar tool, a special tool that I have designed, and I have a purpose and shall accomplish that purpose. Lead and guide him, help him to have faith, and know that he is of Me, and he is Mine. Let him hear the testimonies and lessons of many others here--not only the successes, but the failures, the breakings, the errant ways that each one has undergone, and how I have kept them in spite of these things and have used them.

                149. I bring these things about, for I get My greatest victories out of seeming defeats. I even relish the times when there are difficulties and trials and testings, for that is when I can work and manifest Myself and bring things to light that otherwise would not have been noticed. So all things do not continue as they were from the beginning. These young people are different than they were a year ago, a month ago or even a week ago.

                150. So be not dismayed at these manifestations, these problems, these difficulties, for through them I shall get great victories! Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing has happened unto you. I do this thing to draw you unto Me, and to help you point this one to Me, and to show him a side of Me that he is not aware of.

                151. This one needs to be challenged. He needs a project, something to sink his teeth into, so he can see that the fruits of his labors will be accomplishing something. This is a time to ask him many questions, deep questions, and let him ask questions as well. Take time with him. It shall not be time wasted.

                152. Challenge Me to work in this one's life. Challenge Me to make something of him, for there is great potential there. The characteristics that I have given him can be used to help and inspire others who will go through similar things. Help him through the difficult times and it shall be an investment that is well worth it. For I have given him talents, but they need to be mined.

                153. Learn from this one, learn from his trials. There be many others that undergo similar things. For though the sky seems cloudy and stormy and ominous, with lightnings and thunderings, I shall bring forth a day that shall be bright and clear and enjoyable and sunny and fresh. I shall bring these things to pass, because I love you and I love him as well. (End of prophecies.)

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--Give and It Shall Be Given unto You!

                154. (Introduction: The following prophecies were received when one of our WS pubs units asked the Lord for a confirmation about whether some of the pubs personnel should devote part of their time to train some of the WS JETTs and teens. While their situation may not be exactly like yours, we feel you can still apply and benefit from the principles the Lord brings out in these prophecies.)

                155. (Prophecy:) Say not unto your neighbor, "Go and come again and tomorrow I will give," when you have it by you. For in giving you shall be blessed. And these dear ones that are given unto shall be blessed, for their lives shall be strengthened, their outlook shall be broadened, and their faith in the Family shall be increased. For they do hunger and thirst after righteousness, and they shall be filled, for I shall fill all the empties.

                156. They call out unto Me. They cry out for change and they call for challenge! I shall meet them and embrace this, and I wish for you to give this to them. In this I am well pleased, for they are My work. They are My gifts, and My gifts are My work. They are coming of age and have great desires and aspirations just as you did, and these needs cannot be filled in their home situation.

                157. Therefore this period of training shall be their schooling, their higher education! Greater steps shall they take. For when they were children, they spoke as children. But now they are becoming men and women, and I do wish for them to become mature adults and responsible citizens of My Kingdom.

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                158. As I have called each one of you closer into My bosom, so do I call each of these closer into My bosom. It is a continuing maturing process. As each of you grow stronger in Me, you draw closer to My bosom. And to draw these young ones in the days of their youth into the maturity of adulthood requires you to draw them closer to your bosom, which shall be symbolic to them of My drawing them closer to My Own bosom. And through this drawing them nigh unto your bosom, their confidence in My great love for them shall grow and their doubts shall be melted away--the doubts that they have that I do not love them individually and I look at them only as part of a group. These doubts shall fly away and melt as you draw them into your bosoms and they see your personal touch on their individual lives.

                159. Each of them shall have an experience with Me that shall sell them on Me and on My work and on giving their future totally into My hands. And this shall be a great reward in the lives of each of them and in the lives of their parents and the lives of the teachers. It shall be a great reward in the lives of each of you here as you see them set free from their childish ways and understandings into mature adulthood and mature discipleship and mature abandonment of their own ideas and their own desires, as they let go and let Me take over.

                160. You shall watch the childish ways melt away and you shall watch them take hold of the future with great inspiration and challenge. You shall be inspired and thrilled, and through this inspiration that you shall receive from watching your own children be set free, you shall be inspired to help the Family children around the world to become freer. You will know how to better lead and guide and shepherd all of our little ones.

                161. For I have given you these children for many reasons, to train them, to make of them the great disciples that I have for each of them to be. I have made this situation for these children to be brought up in and this clay to be made into the pottery that I have designed it to be made into. I have given these children for your own training and for your own input and for your own vision. As you continue to help shepherd and to feed the children, My children around the world, you will draw great inspiration from this experience.

                162. And I shall supply all your needs--your need for inspiration, your need for vision, your need for equipment, your need for room. I shall supply these needs abundantly! But first you must open the door. You must not say, "Oh, but we don't have the room, or the vision, or the time, or the inspiration, or the equipment. We are lacking in this area or in that area, therefore we must wait." As you open your hearts and draw them nigh, I shall supply each and every need. All you must do is step out by faith and I shall pour forth every need in abundance. Commit these needs unto Me and I shall pour forth. Draw the children to My bosom and I shall pour forth.

                163. And to you young men and young women who are stepping into this new realm: I am honoring you with this greater responsibility! For I look into your hearts and I see your love for Me and your tenderness of spirit, and I love you greatly. I see such beauty in your hearts. I see such inspiration and desire to fulfill My will.

                164. Take this challenge as a great gift from Me, for it is not a little thing that I bestow upon you. I have taken part of My Own heart and part of My Own factory, and I cut a part of this to give to you. I am sacrificing of My Own time and of My Own doing to give to you and to make of you the great men and women I would have you to be. This is not just a giving by those there, but this, My young men and women, is a giving to you personally from Me. I am giving to each of you individually.

                165. When you see the dear one taking time to pour into you, know that this is My servant who I have commissioned for a great and wonderful job to feed the world, and it is I who have set them aside to train and to pour into you. This is a gift straight from My hand, and they are but the tools. This is a personal gift from My hand to you. And I ask you to treat it as such, with honor and respect. I know that you shall grow into the mighty men and women that I want you to be, and I am thrilled with the prospect of this venture! This is My doing.

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                166. The real training and the real learning is in the personal touch, the intimate contact that you will have with your pupils. Isn't this the wish of every important man who has a profession, that he may teach his own all that he has learned?--That he may even provide shortcuts to make it easy for them to learn, to pass on to his own child all he knows so that he also can benefit of all that he has learned? But so many lack the most important ingredient--a relationship between the teacher and the pupil, an intimate rapport of trust and love and admiration. The pupil must admire the teacher, yes, but so must the teacher admire and respect the pupil, and in this there will be a constant flow of love and of learning. The one must learn from the other, but the other must also be willing to learn from the one and be open to changes, to alterations, to reflections, to revolutions and to change. For if there is rigidity, then there is rejection.

                167. As for the time, and as for your request to stretch the deadlines of your work that you already have to attend to in light of this extra load that is added unto you, I say trust Me. For in giving I shall also give unto you. The reward and the recompense thereof may not be in immediate results, but trust that in due time My hand will extend to your prayer. For in duplicating all that you know, then you will more than duplicate your fruitfulness. And I will also add on to this fruitfulness by attending to the things that you cannot attend to yourself. For I have a plan, and this is the hour.

                168. Can you not see the wisdom of this plan in the fruits that you have already savored? Can you not see it in the older ones, who at their time of need and heartcry were brought in? Have they not learned, to where they are not only a big blessing, but actual pillars in your work and house?

                169. And while you may look outside for more people who can be trusted, not only with greater responsibilities and the workload, but with the oddity of your lifestyle and the security thereof, there are these who are by your side, who were born therein, raised therein, and are in many ways advanced in the training that has been given them, for it is in the very fiber of their being! Therefore they need to be exercised. In many respects their training will be much more complete than that of the newcomer. For while I have called you many years ago, I have also called many of them. There was a purpose and a plan which is now coming to pass.

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                170. Though this may look like a hard thing when viewed with the carnal mind, yet I am the Master Baker and I know all the ingredients that are necessary in order to increase the fruit of My bakery. I know all the ingredients. I know the recipe and I understand exactly what is being done.

                171. Say not ye there are yet four months and then cometh the harvest. The harvest is always plenteous but the laborers are few. The work you have always with you, but the laborers are few, and I bring new laborers into the recipe. It is always possible to stretch a little more, for the things that seem impossible with man are possible with Me. It is always possible to make a little bit more room here, to make a little bit more room there. It all depends upon your priorities and what you put first.

                172. This is My plan, to bring these teens into My vocational training. It is as if they are gone off to college. These are the calves of your stall who are ready for further training. And the key word is to trust, to cast yourself and your burden onto Me and trust that I am able to do all of this. For the things that seem to be impossible with man are possible with Me. I will be able to bring these younger ones in and to train them.

                173. For this is a microcosm and a taste of what is happening in the Family, where all the families have had to take the responsibility.--Not only the responsibility, but the time to train up their own children. The time has come for you to expand yourself, to take on more in order that these may give their fruits unto you in due time. In the same measure that you give unto them, it shall be measured unto you again; good measure, pressed down and shaken shall they give unto your bosom. With the personnel you have, it is always possible to give a little bit more here, to give a little bit more there.

                174. Therefore test and see where these may be put into the fabric of your unit. See where the spots are. See who can handle a little bit more. See who is willing to give a little bit of time to them, and I shall recompense him fourfold--by making things easier on his end, by showing him things that he didn't have to do that he thought he had to. For I work in the Spirit and I work on the other side of the tapestry. And as you have been learning, as you cast your burdens on Me, I am able to take these burdens.

                175. In a way, this is like crossing the Jordan, for you must cast your burdens upon Me in order to cross over. You must truly trust and you must let Me carry the burden. And then you must simply train these, trusting that I will do the things that you can't do. For it is My work and it is My business. These things are necessary for you, and they are necessary for them.

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                176. Say not ye there are yet four months and then cometh harvest. For behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest! I have grown these up from their infancy, and now they are ready to partake of the training and of the blessing of service in the Father's house. The time you spend and all you will give unto them will be repaid. Whatsoever thou spendest, I shall repay. And you will be rewarded by the fruit you shall see!--The fruit that it shall bring in your own life, and the fruit that you will see it bear in their lives!--The growth, the maturity, the fulfillment, the satisfaction of feeling needed and useful.

                177. You will be rewarded with more laborers, for some shall take up the cross and follow after you in the same calling. For others it shall be a time of learning and needed growth. For others, I have different plans in their lives, but this shall be used to bring forth fruit that I have ordained. This is as stepping stones, and as they walk from one to the next, they make progress, they go forward, they learn new things, and they grow and mature in new ways. It is not an overnight change or something that shall happen immediately, but as they step forth on the stepping stone, they are making progress and moving forward. It is My plan, and I shall bless you and I shall bless them! (End of prophecies.)

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family