Tough couple of weeks.
Y'all, I am a 50 something year old female. And I am educating four young men all day long. MEN. Three of them are teenagers. The older two are on the cusp of being fully grown men. They are going through the normal rhythms of growing up, wanting independence, and needing to show some adult sized responsibility. But they are going through that as men. When our oldest daughter went through that phase she went through it as a young woman. I was once a young woman. Women I get, because I am one. Going through it with young men is entirely different.
I have really felt the tension these past couple of weeks between what is required of them as my children, and what they want from me (which is basically hands off). It's tricky knowing how to balance the respect they need as young men who want to figure things out on their own, with still requiring that they get their math done.
And the scope of helping to problem solve with children at very different stages is just really big. In the last couple of weeks I helped our college daughter weigh the pros and cons of a summer job that would take her away from home much of the time, cried over a teen boy's harsher than anticipated words to me, and comforted our youngest son when he was distraught over the fact that he did not have his own wallet and still kept his allowance in a plastic cup from Caesarland (we went to Target to remedy that situation - problem solved. Boom! I wish all problems were so easy to solve!)
I have been pondering a lot, crying some, and praying much about how to parent these young men God has given us. There are so many things I want them to "own" before they leave our home, but even more than that, I want to keep communication with them open and make sure that as much as it lies with me, our relationships remains strong. I think the tears have come from a place of hurt, but also a place of fear. What do I fear? Poor judgment on their part. Choices that have bad consequences. Laziness. But most of all, the possibility of a broken relationship.
I have very little reason to think any of these things are going to happen. They simply loom as I feel my older boys beginning to pull away from me. I recognize that "pulling away" is normal, expected, and even wanted. Raising strong, independent, thinking adults is what I signed up for when I became a parent. But going through it with my young men just feels so different. It's uncomfortable and bittersweet and unknown. Hence the fear.
However, fear is not of God. God has been reminding me of what is true. His Word is true. And His Word tells me that:
He has not given me a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. (2 Tim. 1:7)
The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Hebrews 13:6)
Do not grow weary in doing good. (2 Thess. 3:13)
Trust in the Lord and do good. (Psalm 37:3)
So, by God's grace, I am trusting Him and doing good. Doing the next thing. Caring for my family in a myriad of little daily ways. He loves my children even more than I do! What a comfort. My mother gave me a great word of wisdom last week, and that was to relax and let it be organic. To depend on God each day to provide opportunities for investment into relationship with my boys, and to just take every opportunity as it comes. God will provide those because He also wants us to maintain strong, healthy relationships. What I want and what He wants are the same thing.
Thank you, God, for reminding me of your great love. Thank you for loving my children even more than I do. Thank you that they have each professed faith in you and that your spirit lives in them. Help them to know and depend on you more, and help me to show them what that looks like. Keep our relationships strong, Lord. Help each of my children know how much they are loved. Amen.