Parenting is no walk in the park.
Even after you have done everything in your power, and think you have been very intentional in your parenting, seeking out all the wisdom you can find, your child might still shock you.
I read this article last week, written by a family friend, who’s also the CEO of the Singapore Kindness Movement. Titled “The Prodigal Daughter”, a father writes about how his bubbly, model-student daughter suddenly underwent a sea-change, and became a withdrawn teenager with Goth make-up, who left home at age 16, and moved to another country.
The story has a happy ending, but the seven years before she came home, were every parent’s unimaginable nightmare. At age 19, she became pregnant out of wedlock, in a teen drug abusers community, and her marriage eventually failed.
Her parents did all they could to stay in touch with her, to offer help. I can scarcely imagine her mother’s heartbreak. They were a normal, God-fearing family. No divorce, no dysfunction. Yet their daughter left home.
Today, the hubs forwarded this article from Desiring God to me. It immediately reminded me of the story above.
It is an article full of wisdom, and an excerpt is as follows:
Parenting is inescapably the work of waiting.
As a parent, especially to young children, you are constantly devoting your time and energy into something that doesn’t produce immediate results. It is unclear, at a hundred different turns, whether what you’re doing will have any lasting effect on your kids — which is tough because lasting effect is what you’re really after.
It’s never just about your kids sleeping through the night, or napping well, or being polite at the dinner table, or learning not to cop a bad attitude when they don’t get their way. To be sure, you spend tons of time and energy on that, but it’s never just about that. Instead, all that effort is because you want them to become a certain kind of person in the long run. You want them to become mature adults. All the little stuff parents do, from telling our kids to say “excuse me” and “thank you” to banning them from eating boogers, is all pointed toward their future.
But this future-oriented investment is never safe. Hopefully, you get to see some progress in your kids while they’re young, but you can’t possibly see it all, and sometimes you may see so little that you’re terribly discouraged. I’m pretty sure, for example, that family devotions are more for the parent’s patience than for the kid’s good. It’s just hard to see the impact right away. And honestly, we aren’t actually guaranteed to see anything.
…even with all our love and care and instruction, despite what some books might suggest, we can’t know how it will all turn out. Parenting is never a sure investment with immediate turnaround. Parenting is inescapably the work of waiting.
What should we do then? From Psalm 143, the writer encourages us to seek God first, ask him to continually open our ears to His guidance, and then to just take a calm attitude of trust henceforth. What a comfort, what a promise.
…we need to hear of God’s steadfast love. We need this anchor to our souls before we hear anything else. Let me hear, and then lead me on.
Parenting is inescapably the work of waiting. But here, in this place of uncertainty, through this prayer, we remember the clear picture of God’s love in the cross and victory of Jesus, and then we set sail with all of God’s promises because of that love. Let me hear, lead me on.
Hope this has encouraged you today. Parenting is a long and tough journey with no pat answers. Let us lean on the one who knows all things, and most importantly, whose heart we can always trust.