I recently posted that I don’t parent from fear now. And I don’t anymore. But I did. And I see similar actions from young parents- tactics used to control, cajole, manipulate or micro manage their children. I see some parents who are so scared of letting their children make mistakes.
I’ve also met some adults (young and slightly older) who have been parented by these methods. And sadly, they have turned their back on God, rejecting His way and going after a life of fun and temporary pleasure.
Losing my voice
When one of my children was 14 she started to go off the rails. She rebelled against us, God and everyone else that she perceived as authority. And as is typical with this particular child when she does something she does it well – to 100% of her ability. Being such a young age, everyone (friends, church members, other homeschoolers, etc) got to see her rebel against God, family and homeschooling. Suffice to say it has been the most difficult period in my life… but God has been good (of course!) and has revealed Himself to me in a way that I needed.
My daughter did all this early and publicly, or so it felt because I was involved at church and in the homeschool movement. I started to feel like the example – what not to be or not to do. Ouch.
On a personal level, I lost my writing/speaking voice. I totally lost my confidence. I had nothing to say. I felt useless and worthless and as though I had nothing to offer anyone. I felt that people only wanted to hear of the positive, glowing success stories and my child didn’t fit in that mold. Guess what? She still doesn’t. We don’t fit in that mold either. And largely nothing has changed. People still want to hear the glowing, positive reports… until they have a child who starts to look sideways- then my inbox gets busy.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
~2 Cor 1:3-4
Back to those young adults…
Unlike my daughter they appeared to be good, Christian, homeschooled kids… until they hit about 17 or 18 years of age. Things have started to go downhill… very quickly. In fact, some of those young people are doing the things that my daughter was doing years ago. Except my daughter isn’t doing all that any more. She has learned a lot (she still has a long way to go, but that’s God’s job, not mine) and now manages her own home. But these young people I know have now gone off the rails. What’s the difference between my daughter and them? Not a thing. Except they are older and because of that, it doesn’t seem as bad. But it only seems that way because it isn’t as public. But the same attitudes are there; have fun, party hard, hate authority, parents, etc.
But God is a big God.
I was saved by grace. I couldn’t have saved myself. When (not if, but when) my child realises their salvation and has a revelation from God I want them to know the truth – that they are saved by grace, through faith. I know he has a plan and a purpose for my children and their salvation. God is a God of salvation. Redemption is His business!
What have I learned during this journey?
Heaps! But writing concise summations are not my strong point. I don’t know really but a few things come to mind… don’t be too quick to look at others and judge. Don’t look for formulas. Don’t try to micro manage our children. Don’t parent from fear. Accept that I cannot obtain salvation for my child. Accept that I can’t train them to be a Christian. Applying lists and rules and guidelines are just that – lists. Don’t micromanage their attitude but look to their heart and treat it gently, tenderly. Everything I do needs to be seasoned in grace and only motivated by a deep and sincere relationship with the Lord Jesus.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
~2 Corinthians 12:9
Oh, in case you hadn’t realised… I found my voice again!