By Mike Green
In August, our youngest child, Ross, packed most everything he owned into his 2003 Toyota Corolla and started a 2000 mile trek that would end in Los Angeles. This California destination will be his home for at least the next nine months and his mother and I are nervously wondering if it may be a permanent move. Ross has been “out of the house” for most of the past five years, but he was never more than a 45-minute drive from Tuscaloosa. This move is, of course, much more significant for him and for us.
As parents of young children, then teenagers and eventually adults, our relationships with our kids go through many significant transitions. Navigating those transitional phases can be scary. Dropping a child off at college or giving our new 16-year-old the keys to the car and the freedom that goes with it can test all our previous commitments to trust our son or daughter. With two adult children, I have faced several of those transitions and I am sure I could learn much from many of you who have navigated far more of these “opportunities” than I have. But I would like to share a few insights that might just help those of you who will face them in the coming days.
First of all, trust yourself. After 13, 16 or even 20 plus years you have invested thousands of hours into your child’s development. And yes, you made far more mistakes than you think you should have. You were not the perfect parent. But I know you care about your child. Why? Because you are taking the time to read this article. And though you are a flawed parent, your child has learned much from you. Even if some of their decision making as a teenager makes you question that. Here is one thing I have learned about teenagers: Sometimes they are very adept at not revealing that they are actually learning something. But far more is sinking in than you can imagine.
Second, trust your child. This is a general principle and not a hard and fast rule, so give me a little grace here if you will. Our kids love to rise to the level we expect of them. Let your children know you trust them. Verbally communicate that trust. Let them know that this new stage of life will test them and that you “can’t wait to see how they perform.” Then celebrate together when they do well.
Third, trust God. As I wrestle with my shortcomings as a parent this one gives me much needed peace. The bottom line is, your children are more God’s than they are yours. He loves them, aches for them when they are in pain, celebrates with them when they succeed and has the omniscient ability to be concerned with their well-being even when we are busy working our jobs, attending to other children or getting away for a much needed vacation with our spouse. I am convinced God is good. And that goodness means He is constantly concerned for our kids.
Mike and Laura Green have two grown children, Brittany and Ross. They serve on staff with Tuscaloosa Youth For Christ. Their first grandchild is due in September.
Photo Caption: Mike and Laura Green
Article sponsored by Tuscaloosa Youth for Christ.
Find them on the web at: http://www.tuscaloosayfc.org