I once ran across a cartoon by Randy Glasbergen that spoke volumes to me. Two little boys were standing together, face to face. One was listening and the other was speaking. The caption read: “My Sunday School teacher said I should follow Jesus, but I’m not allowed to leave the yard.” How are we doing at letting our children out of our yards?
At the time of this writing (2017), my husband and I have three adult children, two son-in-laws, and three grandchildren. I’m still learning how to let go! I expect that will be a life long process.
I remember some of the milestones: the first day of preschool when I felt so guilty leaving a crying child (only to learn later that they were fine soon after I’d left); their promotions from elementary school and junior high school; getting their drivers license at age sixteen; high school graduation; going away to college; getting married; one child and her family moving to Istanbul for a year. These were the major faith testers. But there are many more times in everyday life when my faith is tested.
When the children were very young, Tom and I were their primary role models and disciplinarians. As they grew, we had to continually evaluate how much responsibility to give them. We had to allow them to make mistakes. (That’s still hard to do!)
Now that they’re adults, I’m doing my best not to give unsolicited advice, but rather, just listen, ask questions, pray, and entrust them to the Lord’s care. That’s easier said than done, but I’m making progress.
My greatest challenge in this area has been applying it to our disabled son. Someday I may share that journey, but for now I simply want to encourage parents (myself included) to keep letting go as the Lord leads so our children can mature and learn to follow Jesus’ path for their lives. Isn’t that what we really want for our children?
P.S. I am talking about adult children who have the mental capacity to make mature decisions.