The Fray: How To Save A Life

The Fray's hit song, "How to Save A Life," gives some insight into how to parent a prodigal:

Step one you say we need to talk
He walks you say sit down it's just a talk
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
Some sort of window to your right
As he goes left and you stay right
Between the lines of fear and blame
And you begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Let him know that you know best
Cause after all you do know best
Try to slip past his defense
Without granting innocence
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you've told him all along
And pray to God he hears you
And pray to God he hears you

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you've followed
He will do one of two things
He will admit to everything
Or he'll say he's just not the same
And you'll begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life...

Notice how the lyrics encourage us never to give up, but subtly point out that the choice to "admit to everything" (repent) is ultimately not ours. (Shades of Ezekiel 18?) According to the writer, all we can do is keep pursuing our teens and praying to God that they hear. But beyond this, the good news for parents who might be "wondering why they came" is that there is someone who knows how to save a life -- Jesus, the companion of prodigals no matter how far they roam in the night.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for those encouraging words! Sometimes as parents we forget who is really in charge of our special and very difficult teens. God is.

Mitali Perkins said...

Yes, and that our role is to pray like mad. And shut up more. I'm still learning this lesson.