Parents of troubled teens often find that the biggest concern with parents is poor communication with their troubled boy or girl. Poor communication is “not knowing” how to communicate, or not knowing how we communicate, or how our struggling teen communicates. As a matter of fact, the poor communication is probably the foundational problem between parent and teenager. Struggling troubled teens don’t know how to communicate, so count on problems. Rebellious youth need parents to take the communication issue, and to lead the change. Craig Rogers… CEO Zion Educational Systems. “Zion Educational Systems a Christian boarding school and leadership program, helping struggling teenagers become emotionally mature.”
Tigers are the fiercest animals in the jungle! Even more fierce than Lions! Tigers are loners, very aggressive, demanding, curious, and creative. Tigers can be very mean and nasty, and arrogant too! Tigers are very intelligent (sly and sneaky)! They like change, and they hate boundaries. They like to confront their challengers and they go after the things that bother them with reckless abandonment! Most importantly, tigers have stripes!
Zebras are another breed of animal. Zebras are timid, cautious, relational, and live in big herds where they enjoy anonymity. There are leaders within the herd of Zebras but they do not like to draw undue attention to themselves. They lead by serving! Zebras protect one another and lift up the needs of the herd above the individual Zebra. In the herd, the Zebras cut a trail and try to always stay on that trail. They like routines, boundaries, and familiar places. Zebras will avoid challenging other Zebras or even other animals. Zebras just want to graze, eat, mate, and enjoy themselves in peace and harmony. Most important, Zebras have stripes!
So today one of Zion Educational Systems most respected and adored leaders (a Zebra) was offended by my aggressive and demanding style (obviously, I am a tiger). This leader really struggles with my direct, challenging, confronting approach. The leader would rather say, “I’m fine!” when asked, “Are you okay?” than be truthful. To me, if someone is offended, hurt, or really angry but say’s “I’m fine”, is a phony and a hypocrite. To this leader, I am an insensitive jerk, hurtful, a real ogre! This leader blames my aggressive approach on my stripes! This leader wants me to lose my stripes, and get stripes like the zebra’s stripes!
I can lose the stripes, but the stripes don’t make the tiger. The truth is that God created both the tiger and the zebra, and he didn’t make any mistake in doing so. And, no matter what stripes we take off and put on, a tiger is a tiger because of the nature God gave him. And, a zebra is a zebra, regardless of his stripes. His very nature is that of a zebra because God created him to enjoy being a zebra. The Tiger and the Zebra have different natures, different purposes, different approaches, and different visions.
I’m a Tiger. I’m not wrong being a Tiger. The trusted and valued leader is a Zebra. They are not wrong in being a Zebra. The neat thing is that we both have stripes!
The stripes represent our common faith in God! “By His stripes (sufferings) we are healed”. What our goal is to stop looking at our different natures as being “wrong”, but see them as “different”. Although they are different, their common faith is enough to celebrate every day and praise God for each. Let us celebrate one another’s differences and praise God that there are tigers AND zebras!
God got it right and He sets everything in its place! Let us praise Him and know that He is righteous and never makes a mistake!