07 February 2011

Sometimes They Fail

Dear Lissy,

I'm watching one of your brothers cry.

It is a difficult thing to see your child make a decision you know they'll regret.
It is a difficult thing to see your child overwhelmed by a school assignment or chores.
It is a difficult thing to see your child neglect their responsibilities, knowing the consequences will be painful to bear.

But the hardest thing?
Lettting them fail, letting them fall, watching the tears and frustration.

I could step in and force them to make the right choice...they're still young.
I could cut back the school assignment, the chores...I'm the one who gave them in the first place.
I could remind them to put away the bike, pick up the room, walk the dog...the consequences will affect me, too.

But where do I want my children to learn about the consequences of bad decisions?  about how to handle a heavy load? about responsibility?  

I don't want their first bad decision to be the person they marry.   I want them to have learned over the years to go to someone older and wiser when they have a big decision to make.  To search the Word and pray before making any decision, large or small.

I don't want to see them overwhelmed by the responsibilities of adult life and escape into a fantasy world inside their computer or in their basement workshop.  I want them to learn NOW to eat the elephant in bites, and to lean hard on the Lord for a heart to work.

I don't want to see them lose a job because they've neglected responsiblities at work.    I want them to learn now, under the umbrella of our love, that being a part of a family, a work or community team, a church, gives both rewards and responsibilities. That if you don't fulfill your part, everyone suffers, and that you aren't always the one who suffers the most...it may be someone dear to your heart that you hurt.

It is a hard thing to hold back when I could keep everybody happy.  After all, couldn't they learn this an easier way?  Won't success be a better teacher than failure?  Maybe they could simply watch and read about the bad decisions and failures of others.  

We humans learn more from our own personal failures than from either our successes or the warning of others' failures.

Your brother has reached the age where my parenting is morphing into a coaching, mentoring relationship.  He's in the game right now, overwhelmed by a lot of schoolwork for the week. Last year, I sat down with him every week and we divided up the work together.  This year I'm giving him the whole week's worth all at once, and he's discouraged.   
Sometime this evening, we'll talk again about how to handle a heavy workload.  About dividing up the tasks by the time and faithfully plugging away at them.  About bringing our fears to the Lord.  Tomorrow, or maybe Wednesday when the work is more than half done, he'll gain a new sense of confidence.  We'll talk about that, too.  And the next time I hand him a heavy load, I'll be watching.  We may go through this many times, and that's o.k.  I can't pull him aside when he's 32 and help him plan his week so that he can serve and bless his family, his church and his co-workers.  These few short years are all I have.

So I'll let them spend their hard earned money on a silly souvenir even though I've reminded them that they've been saving for a new computer for over a year.
I'll keep doling out homework and chores that stretch their abilities mentally, physically, and spiritually.
I'll let them go a few days without a bike, or computer time, or wait an hour for their dinner when they forget to feed the dog.

I won't let them jump off our second story porch with a sheet for a parachute.
I won't crush their spirits week after week with homework and chores just for the sake of keeping them busy.  
I won't sell the bike or give away Harley.

My heart is longing to prevent every failure and hurt, to take away all the burdens that overwhelm, to be God.  And that is when I realize that I've overstepped.  That if I choose that path, I am pushing God out of their lives.  They'll run or rebel at any and every hardship they face as adults, rather than submitting to a loving Father's omniscient plan.  

So I ask for more wisdom & grace.  Because there is only One who knows their hearts.  Because there is only One who knows my heart.  And there is One who wants us all to be men and women after His heart.

Wishing I could still kiss away all the bumps and bruises,

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