In the last post I shared a story of the struggle my parents had in sending their high school son to a third-world country.  My mom shared that when she dropped me off at the airport and watched me walk off, she quietly prayed, “Well, he’s yours anyways.  He’s always belonged to You.”

Your Kids Are Not Your Own

Isn’t there great comfort in knowing your kids are not your own!  I remember leaving the hospital with our newborn child and thinking, “Are the nurses sure they can let us go?  Are we sure we know what we’re doing?  I don’t know that we can be trusted to do what is needed to take care of this new life.”  Despite all this, the nurses let us leave the hospital and we began our journey as parents.

In that moment, we had no choice but to ultimately hope that God was with us.  Our child was entrusted to us by a loving God who promises not to leave us or forsake us.  There is peace knowing that for as much as I love my kids, their Creator loves them with a more perfect love that I could ever muster.

You’re child is not your own.  Let that be of comfort to you.  Let that truth sink in and push fear to the sidelines.

“May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

–Romans 15: 13

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

–Philippians 4: 6

Sharing the Hope

Now that we realize God is and will always be God and we have incredible reason to hope and dream for our children’s future because of who He is, let’s get practical.

If we listen to ourselves we often verbally share our fears with our kids.  We let them know what we worry about or what we are anxious about.  We let them know the dangers out  in the world and rightly so!  BUT, what if we also shared our hopes with our kids as well.  Here’s an example:

Your kid has the keys and license, now what!?

They know all your fears for them.  You’ve shared them with them.  Now share your hopes for them!  “You know I hope that when you have your car, you really grow in independence.  I’m excited for you to have some freedom and I hope that you find someway to be involved in what God is doing in this world.”

Ask them questions around what you hope for them.  Invite them to dream about what is possible.  Now that you have some freedom, what is something you’ve always wanted to do or be a part of?  How can you honor God with your new found freedom? 

We have some high schoolers in our community that have decided it’s worth it to wake up at 4:30am on Thursday mornings to go feed the homeless!  These students are choosing to do this on their own, often without their parents help.  Through their independence and ability to drive they are finding out they can significantly contribute to God’s kingdom and their community.

We’re going steady (Or whatever kids say these days) 

Or how about dating?  Again, they know your fears as they begin to date.  They’ve probably heard them for years.  I currently (and consistently) give my 4 and 2 year old daughters lessons on dating, because you can never start too soon!

But, what are your hopes when your kids are dating?  “I hope that in this relationship you find out more about yourself and it helps you become a better person.  I hope that you are respected and you respect this person.  I hope this relationship helps you grow into the person God is calling you to be.”  (I think you can have this same conversation in a negative tone, but the idea is to inspire them with your belief in what is possible for them.)

Keeping the Conversation Going

I have to believe that our sons and daughters will appreciate and engage in these conversations.  Maybe not to the level we hope, but don’t you think they will continue thinking about them after they leave our presence?  As they drive off in the car, won’t they think…man, my parents really believe I can do something significant!

We all know how fear can shut down a conversation.  “Mom, I know.  I’ve heard this a million times.  I will be careful, ok?!”.  Our goal as parents is to keep the conversation going.  To keep inviting our kids to dream about what they are capable of and who they are becoming.  To use their freedom responsibly and grow towards adulthood.

Will this work?  I wish I could say yes, but we all know their are no guarantees.  However, I will always try to keep the conversation alive and keep pointing my kids towards a God who gives us nothing but reason to hope.

What do you think?  Do you think your kids will respond to this type of conversation?  Do you think sharing your hopes will lead to a different outcome?