When I think about respect, I think about how I taught my kids that it’s one of the biggest ways they could show me love. ”You need to respect Mommy. You need to look at me when I’m talking to you. You need to obey me.”
I didn’t realize that it would go for me too. That I would need to show them respect by treating them as an adult when the time came. How else would they feel LOVE? I didn’t feel love when I wasn’t respected. They don’t either. We feel like we are loving them when we try to run their day or “protect” them from harm. And, yes, we are always their parents, but when they are adults they need wise counsel, not heavy-handed parenting. It’s a selfless decision; that’s why it’s so hard. Of course the selfishness in me wants to keep my child a “child,” but that’s not God’s plan. As hard as it is to do, HIS plan is ultimately easier. In HIS will, parents experience fulfillment, contentment, and the knowledge that their children are safe in HIS arms.
I didn’t realize that once I truly treated my child like an adult, amazing things would happen.
Amazingly good things and even some amazingly not-so-good things. Through the “not-so” ones, they learned an amazing lesson–one I couldn’t have taught as well had I not allowed them to make the grown-up decision.
I didn’t realize that the little tree my husband and I worked so hard planting and growing had such deep roots, that we’d actually get to watch them blossom, and it’s beautiful.
I didn’t realize that my relationship with my child, now adult, could grow to a new level of love and understanding, sharing emotions and fears I hadn’t known existed.
I didn’t realize that this child, now adult, would miss me more and call me more now because I respected them enough to “let go.”
I didn’t realize all the advice I would now be asked for because I’m not too busy forcing it.
I didn’t realize that I’d ever be okay with sharing them with another, until I let go enough for them to choose their own relationship. It’s a godly one and, I’ve found, I don’t mind sharing.
I didn’t realize the pure joy I would have by seeing them make life decisions that weren’t what I wanted but what they wanted, and it fits them perfectly.
I didn’t realize how much appreciation they would begin to show and express–about how well they were raised and loved–until I let go.
I didn’t realize that letting go didn’t have to be hard. Letting go is still holding on tightly in my prayers, but releasing my grown child to the Lord’s hands every day wherever they may be.
I didn’t realize until later how grateful I am that my parents let go when I went to college. Through good and bad decision making, respect and love were abundant.
I didn’t realize the big picture then, but I do now.
“So, encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV
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