Today’s message is focused on those parents who sent their children off to college about a month ago, and a little memory lane for those that who crossed this Stepping Stone on their life’s growth path. If your kids are adults, never to late to employ this strategy. If they are younger, never to early to start.
The moment, that moment that you said goodbye to the child you were dropping off at college for the first time, got burned into your minds forever. It was in mine.
We have taken this child from diapers to diploma… been the primary influence in her livfe…so many celebrations…some times of sadness and hurt…being involved in most details of her life….and many joys, fears, and surprises filling our memory banks. We want to protect them from so many dangers and hurts…save them from the wrong turns we took back in our teens years. We are concerned they don’t have a protector or advocate like us around anymore. During those two decades, we have seen our child grow so much.
But now it’s your turn to change. The love for your child when he or she leaves home stays pretty constant…but the way you will interact with your child will be significantly different. As you shift roles, be quick to listen and slow to speak. Listen instead of lecture. Begin to create a relationship that fosters communication. Listening first shows you respect them, are giving their ideas and views honor and dignity, are interested and care, and understand that this particular issue is important to them. Listening builds a bridge from your island to theirs (even though the geographical distance is growing) so you can send the important information you want them to hear when they are receptive.
Today, as you continue to make this transition, try and forget about the litany of “who, what, when” interrogation techniques you have relied on since your child became a teenager. Shift your focus now to a more faith based approach. Try praying more. Try an inquiry with your child like: “How would you like me to be praying for you today?” Remember, they have an advocate and protector more powerful, skilled, and with better access to God than we ever could dream of doing ourselves.
Dear God, I pray today for all parents who have children in college. I pray that while experiencing this loss, they take this opportunity to grow. They have focused so long on the growth and development of their child, that many times they have neglected themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Help these parents know, Father, that their jobs as spiritual leaders within their families never ends. Give them the strength and wisdom to minister to their college children. Help them, Father, to move to a mindset of praying…not prying. Give them all your peace and joy as they experience the sadness of separation and loss so they may receive Your mercy and find grace to help them in their time of need. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ our savior; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children live in the truth
3 John 1:4
Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.