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Terry Benge

Terry is currently serving the Lord as Executive Director of Salem4Youth Ranch Ministries. Terry and his wife Stacey have two children. Their son Nathan serves as a Deputy Sheriff and their daughter Jordan is currently pursuing her Master’s in Biblical Counseling. Terry currently preaches on the Ranch and has worked with teenagers for over 25 years as a coach, mentor and Youth group leader. Terry loves hunting and the outdoors.


Gabriel Jackson

Gabe is currently serving the Lord in the vocational training department of Salem4Youth Ranch as a wood working instructor. He has been involved in ministering to young people since he was a teenager – mentoring, teaching, church ministry, camps, retreats, and residential ministry. Gabe attended Lincoln Christian University and Columbia International University, graduating from CIU in 2002 with majors in both Bible and Youth Ministry. He and his wife, Nikki (also a graduate of LCU and ISU with degrees in Jr. High Education and Bible), are busy with 3 children in gradeschool, jr. high, and high school. Gabe is an avid fly fisherman and enjoys spending time outdoors with his family as often as possible.


Stan Risinger

Former Chairman of the Salem4Youth Board of Directors, Stan is currently the Area Director of Men’s Discipleship for the West Central Illinois Man In The Mirror Ministry. When Stan came to faith in Christ God livened his spirit for evangelism and discipleship both locally and internationally. Stan is married to Julie they have four children and are blessed with five grandchildren. Stan and Julie have a love for missions, hospitality and family.

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Parents, do you ever find yourself scratching your head and wondering “what was he thinking?” Dads, have you ever come home to have your wife telling you something that your son or daughter did today at school, and you are left dumbfounded at their behavior? 

Moms, have you ever told your teenager to do a specific task only to find out later that not only did they not do what you told them to do but that they nearly did the exact opposite?

Have these situations ever left you frustrated? What about the time they went out with their friends and got into trouble by breaking the law, drinking, or partying even though you have warned them many many times not to do so? Why would they do such a thing when they know what the possible outcomes could be?

Foolishness! Proverbs 22:15 tells us “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.” Today I just want to work with the first part of this verse. We will leave the second part for a later blog but today our topic is foolishness!

Anyone of us could ask our parents or grandparents if there were times when we were younger that we did something dumb, stupid, dangerous or sinful and the answer would probably be a resounding, “yes”. I know I have many that I don’t care to share…And if that is the case for you and me, then why are we so frustrated by the acts of foolishness committed by our children? 

Now, for some reading this blog you may say you are not frustrated by it at all because you remember when you were a kid yourself. True, as that may be I am not talking about dismissing silly little kid stuff though sometimes we as parents do just that. We dismiss the sins committed by our sons or daughters as just “little kid stuff” that we all did at some point in our own life. However, when we dismiss them as such, we have just missed a God-given opportunity to counsel wisely in the admonition of the Lord our very unwise child. 

In the book by Paul David Tripp titled “Parenting 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family”, Paul makes a statement on page 130 in the chapter on Foolishness. He writes the following “It is foolishness that makes your job as a parent both essential and difficult.” 

Difficult? Yes, we would all agree that our teenagers’ foolishness makes parenting difficult quite often. Difficult, frustrating, exhausting, aggravating, and even depressing at times. But I would like to challenge you with this thought and this thought comes from the first part of the above-mentioned quote “essential.” 

Essential? Yes, essential. God has placed you in this child’s life to rescue them from themselves. God has placed the child in your home to be rescued through your gospel parenting. Therefore, the foolishness that occurs is the moment you are called to the stage. You are in the back waiting to act. Your child’s foolishness is that curtain call to act, to rescue, to instruct, to guide, and to deliver the truth in love and humility. 

Yet too often we zoom right to anger and frustration that we may have to once again address this child’s absolute foolishness. I don’t mean to bail them out of jail. I mean to rescue them from a deceitful, wicked, self-centered, self-destructive heart. Your teenager needs heart surgery and you’re the doctor on call. (Put there by God) 

Tripp also says on page 132 “It is more natural for your children to be happy in setting themselves up as God than to willingly and joyfully submit to the one who is God.” So you must rescue, redirect, and instruct their thinking through their heart. Remember the“law” or “rules” can not rescue them, it only exposes them.  

Don’t be aggravated or frustrated with your children’s foolishness, but be glad God has designed such a human life that foolishness is a megaphone calling you to duty. Do you want to know what controls your son or daughter’s heart? Look at what acts of foolishness they do. You want to know what they worship or what their idol is, then begin to notice their acts of foolishness as grand opportunities to go to work on behalf of The Lord Himself. He has placed you in your child’s life for that moment and other moments like it. 

They are essential and necessary and it is by the grace of God their foolishness is on display. Don’t be defeated, be glad God is mindful of us as parents. Rejoice in these trials of foolishness. I Peter 1:6-7 “In this, you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7) so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;”

Stay calm, see the hand of God, and don’t become foolish in the way you respond to your son or daughter’s foolishness.

Until next time, Terry

One comment on “Foolishness

  1. Renee Whightsil says:

    This was much needed today! Thank you!!!


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