Have you ever tried to force someone to do something? I know I sure have! In my experience, it never turned out too great. Most of the time, the harder I pushed, the further the opposite way they ran.
I remember when I was pregnant with Tucker, I REALLY wanted him to be musically inclined. Music, of all kinds, had always been important to me, and I’d always loved to sing! I’d sing to him, put headphones on my stomach, anything I could think of to do, that might improve his singing gene. I mean, I already knew he’d be a great singer, or at least a musician. How could he not?! I had forced it on him from the moment I realized he existed.
Yeah well, obviously the same principle of running the opposite way, applies to fetuses as well; because when he started singing…..WOW….all I can say is, it’s definitely a voice only a mother could love, and I absolutely do! I LOVE to hear Tucker sing! He has my sense of humor, so I’m hoping when he gets married, he’ll sing at his wedding! How adorable would that be?!
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is, we can’t force someone to be something they’re not. And I think, at times, as parents we try to do that. We have an image in our minds, before our children are born, of how they’re going to be, and believe me; it doesn’t always turn out the way you’d dreamed!
As parents, first and foremost, the most important thing we can do is to practice what we preach. Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk. Don’t say, “Do as I say, not as I do!”. Be good examples. For those of us who deal with grown children, or those who think they’re grown, or those who should be grown, we have to, sometimes, do what God would do.
When dealing with the Israelites, God could’ve easily forced them to do what He wanted, and they could’ve easily walked right on into the Promised Land, but that’s not how God works! Instead, God left them to their own devices, and they wandered around in the desert for forty years. In parental terms, it’s called setting boundaries. Now, mind you, He never left them, or gave up on them. He put people, that He trusted, in charge of them, and He let them figure things out on their own! However, He was always waiting patiently for them to turn back to Him.
Letting go is one of the hardest things a parent will ever have to do, but there comes a time when that’s all you can do. Sometimes we have to allow them to ‘wander in their desert’, figure things out on their own, and pray like crazy that it doesn’t take them forty years to reach their promised land. And like God was with the Israelites, we’re never to give up, or turn our backs on our children, we’re to simply let go. We’re to set boundaries and stick to them. And we never, under any circumstances, stop loving them!
God, our Heavenly Father, gives us many perfect examples of great parenting in His Word. He demands respect with mercy and grace. He’s fair and just, yet stern, and not afraid to discipline, or to let us fail. He’s always waiting patiently for us to return. And He NEVER throws our pasts up in our faces! What a good, sweet, loving Father we have! What a perfect example He is to us. Let’s try to do the same with our children!
The LORD has mercy on those who respect him, as a father has mercy on his children.
Psalm 103:13 NCV