Several years ago I worked in a children’s retail store. Young mommas would come in all the time and ask me (the wise ‘ol southern momma) how do you deal with your children growing up? If their children were already acting like self-sufficient know-it-alls at such a young age, how are you supposed to deal with the teenager years?
My answer? Alcohol and Xanax.
JUST KIDDING PEOPLE!!! I told them you do your very best to raise them as God shows you, and you pray – A LOT. ALL THE TIME, actually.
And then I would tell them what they didn’t want to hear. That one day very, very soon their children would……… wait for it……….. make their own decisions!
WHAAAAT???? A loud gasp would be heard throughout the store as the young momma would then suck all the oxygen out of the room.
I know – when you’re a young momma or daddy you can’t imagine them making their own decisions, leaving you in the dark. But trust me, it happens.
And I’m not relinquishing my responsibilities as a parent, but as I repeated countless times to young mommas I can only say to my children, “Love Jesus, don’t drink, don’t do drugs, don’t have sex” so many times. My children don’t have to wonder where my husband and I stand on the issues. We don’t make it a great mystery for them to figure out. (Wonder how mom or day would feel if I smoked a little crack today???)
But yes, at some point your children WILL make their own decisions.
Do I want to drink that beer? Sneak out of the house? Post that mean tweet? Smoke some weed? Have sex with my girlfriend?
Oh yes, young grasshopper parents – those days are coming – if they haven’t come already. And PLEASE don’t be one of those “My child would never…” kind of parents. Please just don’t.
Instead, you know what you gotta do? First and foremost, teach them who Jesus is and pray they develop a close relationship with Him as they grow up. Then let them make their own decisions. Let them grow. Let them succeed. Let them fail (oh, gosh – now that one hurts, doesn’t it?). Let them – you can’t really stop them anyway and it’s just part of growing up.
Then be there. Be there to cheer them on when they get it right. Be there to pick up the pieces when they don’t. Just be there, just as Jesus is always there for you.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)
Mmmm. Hmmm. Let those be the words our children hear from us today as they go out in the world and make their own decisions.
You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!