For eighteen years we invest in our children. We give up a big portion of our lives for their sake sacrificing time, money, and our identity to ensure they have the best of everything. After investing all of this time and money they leave home to start their own life and a transition begins.
As our children grow up we spend a lot of time and money on them and believe that we are utterly focused on them, but in some ways, we are actually focused on us. We buy them clothes we like, put them in schools we approve of, organize activities we think are beneficial, and create a life that is ultimately based a lot on our knowledge, opinions, goals, and dreams about and for them.
Now of course little Johnny wants to play baseball, but there is always that question as to how much influence we have on how many leagues he is in. Suzy wants to join a club at school and we have to ask ourselves how our bias plays into whether she actually joins or not. No matter how objective we try to be our opinions and feelings about life can be cast onto them as their opinions and feelings.
They leave home
A transition occurs after the kids leave home that we might not see coming. Our relationship with our children changes and we begin to understand that we aren’t in control anymore. It’s not about what we want. It’s about what they want. They decide where they want to go, who they want to see, what they like, where they want to live, and how they are going to live their life. Our knowledge, opinions, goals, and dreams are less of a concern to our children, or not a concern at all.
Our children should be making decisions on their own. If we don’t let them go to make mistakes and build their own lives then we aren’t letting them become the people they are meant to be. We are creating clones. Is that what we want for their lives? Is that what we would want for our lives?
Putting Off Self
As Christians, we are to put off self and put on Christ. This means that we are to be more concerned about following God than our own desires. If we are focused on God first then we will be equipped to think less of our opinions and beliefs and more of our children’s beliefs and opinions for their own lives.
Mom, we are moving to another state.
Self-Focus: Don’t go, that’s a bad state, I will miss you, you will never be happy there.
Focus on them: I am excited for you, this will be a great experience, I will pray for your safe travels there.
Mom, we can’t come for the holidays.
Self-Focus: What about the plans we made, what about our family traditions, it won’t be the same without you, you won’t like it where you are going.
Focus on them: I hope you have fun, this will be a wonderful new tradition for you, I hope you have a safe trip.
Do you see where this is going? We are used to getting things done our way. In some ways, we kind of had to. We had to raise children and teach them discipline and ensure things got done so they kind of had to do things our way, but not now. Now they are independent adults and those adults need the freedom to become who they are meant to be and who they are meant to be might not look a lot like us or what we want for them.
What about you
If we let our adult children go and spend less time managing their lives and prying into their business then we will have more time for ourselves. We will be able to spend more time focusing on what God has for us at this stage of our life as well as more time to take a hot bath, read, go to the movies, take a walk, go out with friends, spend more time on hobbies, and grow our relationship with our spouse. God meant for our children to grow as adults and seek to please Him. This means they aren’t seeking to please us and this is good because we need a release from the weight of responsibility of parenting. We need to go back to figuring out what we are supposed to be doing with our lives, spending time enjoying life without children, and discovering what is next at this stage of our journey.
Now let go, focus on God, and do something great.
My 21-year-old daughter still lives at home. She is an intelligent woman, stubborn, driven, and fiercely independent. Letting her go while she lives at home has meant overlooking her three tattoos, not asking where she goes late at night, understanding that she has a few too many at the local nightclub, watching her make poor decisions about who she hangs out with, and listening to stories about her and her friends that frighten me.
We made rules for college kids living at home and she follows them. She also gets to live her own life without me trying to control or manipulate her. I want to run home tonight and tell her to quit getting drunk, find a nice Christian guy to marry and quit cussing. I want to tell her to get back into church, respect me more, and quit causing me a lot of worry and anxiety, but right now she needs my prayers and for me to respect her life and right now I need to concentrate on what God wants me to do and that doesn’t include changing my daughter.
John 15:12-13 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Moms, we are by nature sacrificial creatures. We do think so much about our children’s welfare that we give up a lot to meet their needs. We also have a lot of us invested in them and when they leave home the parts of their lives that were really about us start to show. As they gain their independence they develop their individuality if we let them, and we begin to see how they want to live their lives different from us. It is at this time that we must let them go from our way of doing things and think more of their way of doing things. It is at this time that we can refocus our lives on discovering what God has for us and making it our business to be about His.