Through some experiences that I have been dealing with lately, I have been seeing a glimpse of my future. As I watch some of the young ladies that I know ‘grow up’ and ‘become adults,’ I sit back and watch them make their own choices. Sometimes their choices make me proud, and other times, a feeling of disappointment sweeps over me.
I’ve come to realize that I can’t fix their problems for them. I can’t fix them. They don’t want my help because they view themselves as responsible adults. They no longer seek or desire my advice and my friendship. And to some extent, it actually really hurts. But, I’ve got to let go and watch what happens. If their world comes crashing down around them, I’ll still be here for them.
“Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” Colossians 3.21
Then it hit me. I will face this with my own children. For now, I can force my parental authority over my children. After all, my oldest is only 6. I can still use the “Because I said so!” line. A day will come, however, when that answer won’t suffice.
In the midst of all of this I ask myself questions like:
How do I keep my children from making horrible mistakes?
How do I make sure they choose to walk the path of righteousness?
When the time comes to let go, will I have regrets, or feel like I have really done the best I could?
When I have to relinquish my authority for their free will, what kind of choices will they make? I know they will make mistakes and I can’t shield them from the pain that will come. But, will they keep making the same mistakes, or will they learn? Am I teaching them how to deal with their hurts appropriately now, so that when they are older they will be able to lean on the One who can hold them up? I know pain won’t kill them (or me!) but it’s still a good reality check.
I want to do the best I can with the time that I have to influence my children. I hope and pray that even as our children grow into adulthood that they will still desire our advice, our friendship. I hope that how I am as a parent now doesn’t breed rebellion into my children so that when they are free to fly, they go as far from possible from all we have taught them!
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6.4
I’m learning that I can’t fix or control everyone. My children included. I have to do the best I can to train them in the instruction of the Lord. After that, the choice is up to them. Even as the pains come in life, (and oh! How I still hope they are little and not great!) I pray that my children would ultimately decide to live a life to glorify God and not self. Until then, I will do the best I can.
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