Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Having Adult Children

I have one . A child that is officially, and legally an adult.

Done with school.
Over 21.
Able to vote.

You must wonder if it’s the relief we all think it is. We’ve grown them to adulthood, teen years are over, and out the door they go. *whew*! Right?

Not exactly.

They are (hopefully) prepared to make their own way. We’ve taught them skills. They know how, even if they don’t do it, to keep their spaces clean and tidy. They can cook, and balance their bank account. They can ask for directions, read a map. They can show up to work each day, pay their bills. Maybe.

But will they put on a sweater when it’s cold? Will they wash their bedding at appropriate intervals? Will they be kind to people, choose their company wisely? Will they be a good friend and neighbor? Will they spend their new freedom staying up too late watching Netflix, or will they manage their time well? Will they purchase and eat foods that keep them healthy?

And why aren’t they calling or texting? What are they doing that they don’t want me to know or ask questions about? Who are they with, all of these people that I’ve never met, and likely never will? Who is influencing them right now? Who is introducing nefarious ideals?

We know it’s happening. But we have no control. Do we still have influence? God, I hope so. That is an actual prayer, you know.

You don’t stop being a parent. Ever. No matter if your children are grown. They are still our children. “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” Haven’t most of us quoted that?

The way our children think of us changes over the years. I’m sure you all know that. They adore us, then they question us, then, and then. Then they learn something that perhaps we’ve never spoken of. Maybe they bring up the subject with us, and we know little about it, or, more probably, we don’t agree with the point of view that they present. They realize that there are other viewpoints. Other ideas.

Our children are supposed to separate from us. To some degree. Hopefully, we are learning to know God, and His love, and we are sharing that with our children. That will keeps us connected always. Always, always.

Parents aren’t infallible. Didn’t you know that? We don’t always know best. Sometimes we need advice from others. Sometimes we have a bad day, and perhaps we deal with the people around us in a less than loving manner. Maybe. Did we hide these things from our kiddos, or did we let them watch us mess up, then figure out how to make things right. Even, at times, admitting that there is no way to make things right, but maybe watching us begin again with someone that we’ve crushed, or restore a relationship that we destroyed with our pride.

We can be anxious about our adult kids forging their way in the wide world, or we can be confident that we taught the valuable lessons. The things that are truly the most important. That they will, if not yet, return to the wisdom of those early life lessons. That they will be the citizens in their communities that produce good fruit.

We can continue to pray over our adult babies. And of course, we will continue to ask why don’t they ever call?

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