The kids may be grown, but there is a scene played out in many homes on a regular basis:
Caller-id told me who was on the other end. Experience told me what the caller wanted.
“Dad, I really hate to ask. BUT is there anyway you could let me have ten bucks…just till payday, I promise.”
The fact that payday would never arrive bothered me less than the reality that she never called for any other reason. The little girl who used to wait at the window for me to come home from work couldn’t care less about seeing me now—unless she needed money. Disheartened and without enthusiasm, I took the call wondering where I went wrong…wondering if there was any hope.
Disappointment in adult children clouds many lives. The reasons are vast and diverse but blame is useless. The reality is that children, like parents, are imperfect, fallible human beings. The other reality is that God loves working in and through imperfect, fallible human beings! The love we have for our children motivates us to grow and learn from the Master in ways we never would for anyone else. Our kids are our blessing in so many ways! As parents, we must look to the God of Hope and help our kids (of every age) walk toward Him!
The first step to changing the situation is to be sure our emotions are in line. Working through our emotions outside of challenging circumstances helps us move toward constructive action. Unrealistic expectations, even a sense of entitlement for the years of parenting can color our thoughts toward our kids. Injured pride that says ‘I thought we did a better job than this,’ creates negative emotions. Honest examination—with a heart surrendered to the convictions of the Holy Spirit—will ferret out any ungodly emotions. Humble repentance for our part in negativity or conflict opens the door for the Spirit to guide us in the ways of wisdom.
With our ‘self’ out of the way, our spiritual eyes can focus on the heart needs of our children. No matter their age, we remain their parents. We have a God-ordained responsibility to love and nurture. That doesn’t always mean we hand over ten dollars. Responsibility and accountability are definite components in the Father’s House. Watching how Father God dealt (and deals) with his rebellious children offers us instruction.
In the Garden of Eden, we see the first parent-child conflict and the perfect model of Fathering. Father God did not accuse. He asked and listened to His beloved children’s responses. He didn’t argue, bargain nor did He capitulate once discipline was declared.
While we do not have the all-knowing wisdom of God, when we beg for His wisdom and insight, He will give it. Even if we do not execute that wisdom perfectly, His purposes will move forward. God is working in parents and children simultaneously. God says we are the parents He chose for the children we have; He makes no mistakes. Continue to embrace the University of Parenthood—and trust God will continue to grow both you and your children to greater Christ-likeness as you seek to honor Him.