Author Jeramy Clark has written, “The tragedy of our age is that we’re at a crossroads, but all the signposts have fallen down.” He was writing about teen and young adult-related matters, and we could talk specifically about any number of signposts. The question is, “How do we, as parents, react to this tragedy?”
We could be apathetic, but how could we dare fail to care? We could be dismissive, saying that sinful actions or habits are a phase or inevitable, but how could be cavalier when souls we helped bring into being are in the balance? We could be helpless, but how could we abdicate our God-given roles? Under-reaction is not the answer.
We could become protective, smothering, and paranoid, but that could easily stunt the emotional and spiritual growth of our children. We could become fearful and irrational, but that is contrary to the spirit we are to possess. Overreaction is not the answer, either.
As the father of three teenage boys, I realize how scary the process is. I made my first “college drop” last week, leaving my oldest son at his dorm 1,400 miles from our front door. I remember how scary it was when we started the driving process. We are in the middle of that with our middle son. Driving is dangerous. If it is done incorrectly, it can be deadly. But, what is the answer? Don’t let them drive until after they graduate, get a job, and get married? Is it to turn let them behind the wheel without rules, guidelines, and plenty of practice? No! It is to train them, trust them, and turn them loose.
It can be scary, difficult, and overwhelming, at times, to do the job God bequeathed to parents (cf. Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:1-4). At best, we will repeatedly stumble and fail. There will be a measure of regret. Our work is to instill, by example and teaching, the mind of Christ in them, and then give them grace and accountability to put it into practice themselves! I just wish it was easier!