Guiding Along or Pushing Along

 

Three years.  That didn’t seem like very long.  Three years until he is in college.  Three years until he leaves home for the first time.  Three years until my boy continues the journey from dependence to independence.  Is it possible that my baby has grown into this young man I see throwing a football with his Dad in the front yard?  As I pondered these thoughts, I prayed for my boy.  I prayed for his spiritual, emotional, mental and physical development.    I prayed for his safety. I prayed for wisdom in parenting him.

I’m sure many mothers have these moments of realization when, all of a sudden, their children seem grown up.  Time is all too short. They are filled with pride at the young man or woman before them, and sadness because they know their “baby” has grown up. We can lament the fact, worry about them, cling to them, or we can have joy over their development in life.

  I think that Mary, the mother of Jesus, felt this loss in relationship with Jesus when she came to see him and He did not choose to stop everything and come out to her, or allow her to come in closer to him.  In Matthew 12:46-50 we read that she and Jesus’ brothers were on the outskirts of the crowd, seeking to come closer to Him. They were rebuffed by the words he spoke next: “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?”  Looking at His disciples, he said, “These are my mother and brothers.”  We often focus on the hurt she must have felt at hearing those words. Instead, maybe we should focus on the fact that she was demanding to be up front with Jesus because of her position in His life.  I think this is a poignant picture of how we, as mothers, feel we have the right to demand our children behave in a prescribed way.  However, they are growing independent.  They are moving on in life, being exactly what God intended them to be: responsible, thoughtful, young adults becoming involved in the life He has provided for them. (I know that they do not act like this all the time, but for the most part.)  We should not demand priority in their lives, we should not demand anything. We need to take on the role of supporter, avoiding the hovering we did when our children were toddlers. God is moving them, let Him do His work.

I say this with vim and vigor … to myself! I constantly have to remind myself to let God do His work in their hearts.  Am I guiding them, still?  Yes. I am still responsible to guide and protect, but with no strings attached. Someone once told me that as mothers we need to micro-guide instead of micro-manage our children.  It looks more like a little nudge here, a little push there, instead of a demand here and a command there.  As we learn to let go of demanding, guilt-driven parenting, we can free our children to be and do what God has laid on their hearts.

As you pray for your children today, reflect on who God made them to be, and enjoy them for it!  Purpose in your heart to parent without guilt-driven comments, and micro-guide instead of micro-manage.

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1 Comment

  1. October 3, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Very wise advice. I think it is harder to be a parent of a twenty-something than it is for a teen! They still make foolish decisions, yet you have lost control. It’s like watching a train wreck at times. Hard on the heart– but good on the prayer life! Yet we have to remember that pain can be a good thing in the life of our child. It is a tool God uses to mature them. The consequences of our mistakes can be an impressing instructor.

    The flip side, being a “demanding parent,” is that love becomes conditional– I’ll only love you if you do what I say. I’ve seen how manipulative that can be, and how unhealthy a parent-child relationship can remain should the parent refuse to allow the child to grow up. Guilt is a weapon. Satan uses it on us day and night, as he accuses us before the throne. It can be just as destructive in the hands of a parent.

    You hit the nail on the head with this post. Keep up the good work!


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