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Posts Tagged ‘#parenting’

Over the past weeks, my son has had me on a steady weekly diet of Star Wars films and animated series (Clone Wars and Rebels) to prepare me for season two of The Mandalorian. He felt I needed more background knowledge of the Mandalorians as well as a better understanding of how things fit together in the Star Wars narrative.

I just want to watch Season 2 of The Mandalorian!!

He, though, sees the bigger picture. He wants me to not just see season 2 as a show, but as a part of a bigger picture …

where did he learn this bigger picture emphasis?

Okay, so … maybe from his mother.

Pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery, hmm… but weakness, folly, failure also. Yes: failure, most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is. Luke, we are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.

Those words, spoken from Yoda to Luke, in the Last Jedi, could fit as appropriately when speaking of the parent/child relationship.

As my own three apprentices are now adults, I feel much of the teaching, the passing on, is done. Now I am watching them reach out into the world with their training done, making their own choices of which lessons to keep and which to abandon (temporarily or permanent? who is to say?).

In my parental passing on of what I have learned, I have equally passes on strengths and weaknesses, wisdom and folly. In my human imperfection, I have also failed them at times … and that failure is also part of the package that I hand over to them.

This is how the human race has a tendency to repeat past mistakes, for history’s teachers impart both the good and the bad, the blessings and the curses from within themselves.

As their parent (master 🙂 ) I have handed down to them many things, but my legacy is not just what I have modelled, taught or insisted upon … my legacy is also what they do with the treasures (and trash) I have shared with them.

Just like a teacher to a student in a classroom, there is no formula for guaranteed success.

If we look beyond human parents and Jedi masters, even in the mastery of Jesus himself, to his disciples, there was not perfection in the following of his teachings. Yet, two thousand years later, his word and his way (“this is the way”) are still being taught, still being modelled … imperfectly.

Though the burden, or struggle of all masters, all teachers, all parents is that our legacy is not in what we impart, but in how our apprentices, our students, our children use what we have given them.

And this is the greatest burden, but also the greatest learning of all parents.

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I was recently asked if our son being away was as bad as I had thought it would be, while he’s off in New Zealand and Thailand with a Christian missions and outreach group. I replied that it was hard to let him go, I have had moments when his presence was missed and I cannot wait to see him.

but …

it’s been okey,

he is where he ought to be,

doing what he ought to be doing …

living his life,

always close to my heart,

but independent of me.

That is the stage we are at in life … it’s the season of cut and release.

I have to say, I like this stage of life … semi-empty nesting … kids into their twenties, no longer directed by us, dependent on us, except in their choice to be. I have no inner ache to go back in time, though I have warm memories of the seasons past. There are things I wish that I had done differently, but we live and learn, from our successes and failures.

Parenting is all about
more God, less me.

That is what this stage has been reminding me … that I am the hands and feet (and heart) of God in this parenting adventure … I do not, nor have I ever, possessed my children. They are and have been and will continue to be a gift to my life, but they are not my life and I am not theirs.

A friend recently said, “I thank God that he was ultimately in control and corrected my mistakes. My children survived and God is still not finished with us.”

” … and God is still not finished with us” … us, not them. For we are all are learning and experiencing life, as we live intermingled with our kids. Our kids are not at the end, nor are we … we are all God’s work in progress.

Our kids are, have been and will continue to be in the capable hands of the same God who allowed us to share in their adventure called life.

I am so thankful for where this adventure has taken us, so far … but I cannot wait to see what is around the next corner … for our kids, as well as for hubby and I, as we all continue to live under the care of God … acknowledging that parenting still has to be more God, less me.

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I want to be a good parent … don’t we all?

We want to be a soft landing, a steady hand, good council, a consistent voice and always pointing in the right direction. We want to be their reliable protector, their sure guide, their fair disciplinarian, their comfort.

In short, what we want is to do the tasks of parenting perfectly, so that they avoid mistakes, hurts and danger.

“Planning out my children’s lives isn’t my job. My best job as a mom is to be obedient to God. God’s job is everything else.”

As I agonized over a struggle in the life of one of our children, one day, I came across the quote (above, by Lisa Terkurst). It was as though God placed it right before my eyes, his finger pointing to it, as if to ensure my attention.

Our three are not children, not school-aged. Though two still live at home, though one is still (for eight more months) a teen, they are all societally, legally and self-actualized adults.

I am no longer responsible, in any way (except by my own choice) for their hygiene, their meals, their education, their housing, their transportation … the list goes on and on.

Never, ever, has it been my responsibility to plan out their lives. Not when they were children, not when they were teens, not now that they are adults. That is their responsibility, their freedom.

The Bible tells us, as parents that we are responsible for:

  • discipline and instruction (Ephesians 6:4)
  • training (Proverbs 22:6)
  • basic necessities for life (1 Timothy 5:8)
  • modelling the honouring of our mother and father (Ephesians 6:2)
  • blessing them (Proverbs 127:5)
  • encouragement (1 Timothy 5:1-2)
  • teaching them to love the Lord God (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)
  • saving up for them (Proverbs 19:14)
  • showing compassion on them (Psalm 103:13)
  • teaching them to care for the Earth and living things (Genesis 1:28)
  • teaching restraint (1 Samuel 3:13)
  • teaching them to obey (Ephesians 6:1)

Nowhere does it say to plan their life for them.

So, who in the Bible is a model of good parenting?

More to come on Thursday, with a story about a parent who allowed their children to plan their own lives.

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Karla Sullivan

Progressive old soul wordsmith

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