“I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord.” (1Sam 1:27-28)
Sometimes, we get so caught up in our children’s achievements, in their performance, in their abilities to conform to our expectations. It’s important to remember, though, that our children do not belong to us. They are in our care for just a little while, but they belong to God, and they have their own roles to fulfill in God’s plan. Who knows how He’ll call them, where He’ll lead them? The best we can do is to pay attention to their natural talents and nurture them, to be mindful of their yearnings and prepare them to walk their own paths.
A friend told me a story not long ago. Her son was not doing very well in college, and he decided to drop out and enlist in the Army. His father had been a career soldier, but he’d been hoping for something better for his son, and both parents were very disappointed in his decision. He fell away from the Church, and a distance still remains between him and his mother. She was pleased, though, that he’d begun to attend church again with his Lutheran wife, and though his father is gone, she hopes still for reconciliation someday.
This isn’t an unusual story. Grown children, it seems, never really recover from feeling like disappointments to their parents. So don’t let them be a disappointment. Does it matter whether your son is a construction worker or the architect? If your daughter is a nurse or a mother nursing a baby? What if we just focused on their hearts, minds and eternal souls, without worrying about what they’ll “be”, beyond beloved children of God? Love them for the mere sake of their being, teach them well, and give them space to meet God in their own ways.
Sometimes, the tighter you hold onto a thing, the faster it slips away.