I went to Austin the other day to help my daughter move out (she is graduating soon). It was possible because I can now prepare Sunday sermons with considerable ease(before I couldn’t have thought it possible at all to go somewhere on Thursday and come back on Friday when I had to preach on Sunday). I don’t like to drive long distance, but I was driving to Austin to help my child when I have so many things to do myself. I thought that it was so true that parental love is one-way: downward toward their children. Parents are very sensitive to their children’s needs, but like my daughter, I must have just accepted my parents’ love without much thinking about their needs.
Then I thought that it is not really true. While it is true that parents give much love to their children, isn’t it also true that children have given much back to their parents? Are we not just forgetting what they are? We truly have received much from our children. The ineffable joy we felt when our childrenwere born;wonderful joyful moments when the baby grew up little by little and began to walk alone; the pride we all felt when they went to school and began to learn to become adults. Didn’t we all felt these?
Besides, when they do not follow our instructions and desires, we become better persons by learning to admit that our children havea different personality from ours; we becomehumbled when we realize that our children cannotbe molded according to our fancies. Isn’t it true? If our children grew up to meet our expectations, even so much as to enter our dream colleges and to have our dream jobs we have chosen for them, how much arrogant and proud we would have been? We have become better persons while we raise our children; we learned to understand other people, to humble ourselves, and to be patient through our children. In this sense, it is wrong to say that we give to our children without any reciprocal rewards. In fact, we might have received more joy from our children than otherwise.
We sometimes see parents who want to control their children even after they are all grown up. They do so because they believe that they have given everything they have had for their children. Since I sacrificed everything without receiving anything back, it is more than right to assert my rights, they think. But our children are gifts from God, and they do give lots of joy to our lives.
Accordingly, we should realize that children are God’s possessions that He allows us to take care of for sometime and let go our desire to control them. Parents’ role is to help our children to find God’s plan for them themselves. So, we should help them grow up to their potentials, to prepare and train them while they are still under our responsibility. However, we should keep it in our mind that the result is under God’s sovereignty, that our children are ultimately God’s children, and that we should let them go when time arrives. We come to have a healthy relationship with our children when we do so.
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