As parents we want the best for our children. We try to instill in them the sense of worth we see in them. We tell them of their potential and help them reach it. We give them goals and we pick them up when they miss the bar. We teach them of the love of God and we temper their strong will. We show them the healing power of forgiveness and the value of hard work. As good parents, we push them, test them, and train them to overcome adversity. Because as parents, we all know that day will come when they think they don't need us or want our help, and we have to let go.
But how do we do that? How do we let go and let them make good and bad decisions that could impact their futures? How do we let them make mistakes? How do we let them be adults? How do we not keep them in the nest and under our wings until they have proven they can make rational, reasonable, realistic decisions? For many of us, an even better question is how do they not value our decades of experiences, our decades of learning from our mistakes, and our scars that they don't have to wear if they will just listen to our wise counsel?
Well, if you are a parent of a strong willed adult, the answer is, painfully, but in faith.
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Prov 22:6, Berean)
The Bible talks about teaching our children how to love God and about God's love for them (Mark 10:14), to be good to our children who are our inheritance from God (Psa 127:3), and of course, teaching children how to follow Godly examples and apply them to their lives (Prov 22:6). The Bible also teaches us to be patient, kind, humble and honest with our children. Otherwise, we are the ones who suffer now, when they leave the nest and don't return, and later, when we realize it was our unyielding ways that drove them away from a loving God.
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; instead, bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (Eph 6:4, Berean)
For parents, our relationship with our children is like the relationship we have with God. After all, He is our Heavenly Father. If God's plan allows, we have our children for 20 years. He has them for a lifetime. We get the privilege and awesome responsibility of molding them, teaching them, and preparing them to step out into God's plan for their lives, and we have to trust that He knows what He is doing. God loves us and gives us leeway to make mistakes. In return he stands with open arms draped in grace when we fall flat and turn back to him. What better advice is there than to love our children like our God loves us?
"God is love." (1 John 4:8, NIV)
Parent, Christian, our little birds will leave the nest. When they do, trust God to know what He is doing.
–Mark Klages is an influential contributor, a former US Marine and a lifelong teacher who focuses on applying a Christian worldview to everyday events. Mark blogs at https://maklagesl3.wixsite.com/website under the title "God Provides where Hate Divides," with a heart to heal social, political, relational, and intellectual wounds through God's divine love and grace. Mark can also be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-klages-04b42511/.