The Good Old Days of Parenting
As most of you know, I have six children. Some are in various levels of transition into adulthood and some are still what the law calls minors. Each one has a place in my heart, in my plans, and in my prayers. Every day and all day. The reason for this is obvious, I am their father and they are my children.
I go through phases where I am looking forward to the relative lightening of the load of parenting. I remember telling myself that the hard years were the early ones, when you were changing diapers, losing sleep, and cleaning up messes off of the floors and walls. Boy, was I wrong. They were hard, to be sure. But the later years have seemed much tougher and I don’t think it is because I am a single parent, though that is a contributing factor.
Parenting Teens is Complex
I believe it is tougher because of the increasing complexity of parenting teens. The nuances of the problems they are facing, the immature but higher thought processes that need to be refined, and the fruit of our own mistakes made earlier in parenting them are showing themselves, and it is a challenge beyond anything I have ever experienced.
Because of this, I sometimes want to move the clock forward, not backward. I want to be done. I know I can’t change the past, and I want to give the past and present to God to clean up the mess. I want to leave it for him like we leave a messy table at a restaurant after a meal, or a hotel room after a trip. I want to move on. Check, please.
Parenting is a Lifetime Gig
However, my heart always brings me back. While I still leave the past with God, ask for wisdom from Him for today, and trust the future with Him as well, I know that I can’t just not be a parent. It is who I am. It is who I am called to be. While I wish I could be a better one, there is nothing else in the world that I want to be more than the parent of my children.
I have to apologize to my children regularly for being too intrusive, or micromanaging them. I sometimes parent them as if they are younger than they are, which is frustrating to them. I am still learning how to loosen the reins properly—not too tight, not too loose. It is a balancing act that I am perpetually trying and often failing to perform. My standard apology is, “Sorry. I’m just being a parent.”
However, while I wish I could get them launched into independent adulthood and am hopeful that it will happen in the next few years, I am realizing one thing—I will never stop being a parent. I will always think about them, love them, sometimes fret about them, continually pray for them, and be there for them.
Because I will be doing this until I die. Because it is my calling. I am Dad.
What have you learned about your calling as a parent over the years? Talk to us in the comments below.