Some women are naturals at raising children. They take things in stride and know exactly what do to in any given situation. It hasn’t been like that for me. I always felt the weight of being responsible for another person. And every stage knocked me off my feet and I had to find my balance again. “If only she were old enough for me to discuss this with her then she’d understand.” But when she was old enough to discuss, she was old enough to argue!
Parenting an adult child is by far the hardest. You can’t pick them up and turn them in away for dangerous directions anymore. Their decisions are theirs to make, not yours. And they don’t always want your advice.
But I’ve found an example of adult parenting. It has the wrong title, though. I would call it the Parable of the Prodigal’s Father. I’ve looked at that father over and over again to understand what my role is now. And as I look at him I see a parent who allows his child to make his own decisions. Then he waits and watches (and I’m sure he prayed a lot, too). When his son returned, he didn’t just let him in, he ran to meet him.
This father teaches me that we need to make room for failure. It’s part of the maturing process. And more importantly for us – joining God’s working for good in our children means making sure that we don’t slam any doors – giving them nowhere to turn.