“Brains Are Like Teeth”

Today I am going to share an article written last year by my favorite father-in-law Tom Sawyer. I will make my comments at the end


“While solving the world’s problems over coffee the other day, my friend made the commented that sometimes his kid acts like he hasn’t got a brain in his head. I’ve heard this comment made by concerned parents more times than I can count and there is a good reason.

Brains are like teeth. You see, a baby, before their baby teeth grow out, eats baby food. No solid food, just fluids and jars of mush. As the child gets a little older and his or her baby teeth grow out, they begin to eat solid foods a little at first and finally pretty much the same foods an adult eats.

When Junior hits the age of 10 or so, all his baby teeth fall out. So for a period of time he or she has no teeth and must eat fluids and mush. Finally the adult teeth grow in and your young adult can enjoy all of the pleasures of most any adult artery clogging culinary feast.

Brains work in much the same way. When you first bring your new bundle of joy home from the hospital their new baby brain is just starting to learn and analyze information. Their communication skills are almost nonexistent. When they want something they cry, or they drool, burp and poop. Once in a while you get the coveted smile. They act like a baby but that’s about it. That’s all you should expect.

As the baby brain develops so do communication skills and a higher order of thought patterns emerge. You see hope for the world because your child must be a genius. Best of all, your young toddler is kind of fun to have around. Spending time together is something you look forward to every day.

Sometime between ages 12 to 14 the baby brain like baby teeth, falls out and for a period of time your teenager has no ability to learn from mistakes or analyze information. Their higher level communication skills are almost nonexistent. Their basic instinct is to eat, complain, drool, burp and poop. Once in a while you get the coveted smile. They act like a baby but that’s about it. That’s all you should expect.

It’s different in all cases, but in time the adult brain grows in and you have a fully functional full grown adult. Ready to change the world for the better.

So the next time you see your teen do something that make no sense and you find yourself thinking, “that kid acts like he doesn’t have a brain in his head.” He doesn’t, it fell out. But it’ll be ok; his adult brain will grow in sooner or later. Yours did.”

[To read more from Tom; check out his column at UBurlington]


The topic of children comes up regularly in my Women’s Bible Study at church. Often mother’s are worried about their children’s development, how to discipline, etc. We share experiences and learn from each other’s failures and successes with raising children. Lately, the following question has been asked: “What do I do if something bad happens to my children (injury, abuse, pregnancy, etc.)? We don’t like to think about these things but the reality is that something bad may happen.

Mother’s are protective of their children. We pray for them constantly and hope that we are raising them right. Sometimes we forget that God placed them in our lives and is ultimately in control. Unfortunately, we as mothers (or fathers) cannot protect them from everything. Sometimes bad things happen and sometimes our children will make mistakes. Our job is to teach them how to love God and His Word so that they will have the foundation they need in their lives. When trials come to them they will learn how to respond to them based on that foundation.

I don’t have teenagers…yet. I have several years before I hit that stage (Thank you Jesus!). I do know that when I was a teenager; I had a desperate need to figure things out on my own. I wanted to do things that I was not allowed to do just to see if my parents were right. Sometimes a situation would come up where I knew my parents were right about something. This saved me from making some mistakes because I had my foundation. When I did make mistakes; I quickly turned back to my Biblical foundation.

We can’t control what our children will do in the future. We can’t keep bad things from happening to them. But, we need to remember that God loves our children even more than we do.

Train a child in the way he should go,

and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

3 replies

  1. Some insight that I received by personal e-mail in response to this blog post:

    “In Sunday School, my pastor said something that really hit home for me. He said that many people raise their children to be one step above the world by giving them a higher standard. They provide a standard so that the kids are not like the world. For example, the kids don’t watch certain types of movies or go to certain places. He said that it is not the same as providing a Biblical foundation as a standard. It isn’t good enough to just be somewhat better than the world. If this were the case, as the world gets worse and worse; Christians will become more lax in their standards and still be one step ahead of them. But if the Bible is the foundation, Christians will begin to stand out like sore thumbs when the world gets worse and worse. When parents say “No, we don’t do that in this home; it is God who set the standard, not the parents.”

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