It occurs to me that I may not feel the same about my sons as others do about theirs...
While they were growing up, I foresaw them making the transition into adulthood idealistically. Easily. Not sneaking around and doing things behind our backs that we wouldn't approve of; and always attending church because that’s what they were taught and because certainly by then they would have grown into such dedicated followers of Christ. I foresaw them going to college and being great examples to their peers, etc., etc.
Okay, so I may be just a little idealistic. I can admit it! I’ve always dreamed of living in Mayberry. AND, I sort of didn’t count on all this testosterone! Plus, I know that others have these illusions; I work at a preschool!
Soooo, while being yanked into reality, some things have occurred to me. I occasionally hear complaints from parents about only seeing college aged kids when they want something, or how these “children” are just not being smart and are making bad choices, or are miss-using their college money or opportunity on a good time, etc. I’ve got to say, while we haven’t had the “Mayberry” experience, neither have we had this one.
Now, just so you understand, my boys are not perfect; far from it actually. They, on occasion, have made poor choices, and just like their parents, probably will again. They haven’t always been the greatest Christian examples and have many times caused me to pray extra for their futures (physical and spiritual). For them, I've lost much sleep worrying and am convinced that I have aged at least a decade in the past four years!
In spite of all that, and as usual, they’re teaching me (yes, Luke, I said it again!); mostly things that I might have heard and agreed with but haven’t really had to walk. They’ve taught me that turning them loose is much better for them than holding on. They’ve taught me that while, yes, they should be raised with a high standard of expectation, they should also be allowed to mess up… sometimes a lot or even hugely. Otherwise how will they ever see God’s hand in their lives or experience His grace.
They’ve taught me that I’m not in control; and to be thankful for that. They’ve taught me that trying to speak into every nuance or decision in their lives is not only ridiculous (Moms please…really?), but nor is it faith provoking; for them or me! (While a man may plan his course, it’s our Sovereign (look it up) Creator who governs his steps.)
They’re teaching me (notice the change in verb tense there?) that it’s better to be an example than a know-it-all parent and to not give advice unless asked. Otherwise, it won’t be heeded or seen as needed. They're also teaching me to be a more transparent parent. If they aren’t allowed to see my struggles, how can they see God’s hand in the outcome of those struggles?
Do I walk in all those lessons perfectly? HA! What do you think?! I’m a Mama! However, I can say that while some may go weeks or months angry or frustrated with their sons waiting for a sign of hope that they’re starting to “get it”, I don’t. I can say that on a pretty regular basis, I’m so overcome with pride and throat-choking love for my boys that I’m literally rendered speechless.
Sending them off to be Marines and then on to Afghanistan has done this for me. I can say that in searching for the silver lining in their joining the Marines, this is one conclusion I make. So yes, it occurs to me that I may not feel the same about my boys as others do about theirs.
Thank you, my Sons. I love you so much.