Happy Monday morning Ladies!
So, guess what I am doing today (besides getting my hair did…)?
Today, I am taking my baby son, Joshua, to register for Jr. High. Today represents a change of season for me. To the best of my knowledge, I will NEVER again parent an elementary age child. No more classroom parties or field trips. No more colorful classroom with just one teacher. Nope. He is moving on up. And I am ready.
I have done this once before with my older son, Sean, two years ago. And it didn’t go so well. I had the best of intentions. But what started out as an innocent trip to register for Jr. High turned into a full out freak-show. We walked around looking for Sean’s classes, and then somehow I thought it would be a good idea to time him walking from his locker to each room to make sure he was well within the 5 minutes given to change classes. I had a stopwatch and everything. I said things like this:
“OK Sean, 4:25 is a good time. But I think you can do better.”
Let’s put it this way, if changing classes in Jr. High School was an Olympic event, Sean would have won the gold medal. A teacher eventually took pity on Sean and intervened.
That mindset set the tone for an anxious and fearful year. I can’t explain it, but I just decided that Sean would be irrevocably damaged from going to a public jr. high. But he hasn’t been. And I am stronger for it.
Everything is hard before it gets easier, and that applies somewhat to parenting. God says in the book of Isaiah “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”
We will go through hard things. Through fire. But it won’t kill us. And we will be better for the experience because we gain knowledge and grow in our faith. Here are some things I have learned from having parented a Jr. High kid:
- My hope is not in my child – his actions, his choices, his words. My hope is in the LORD.
- I do not need to fear my teen struggling, hurting, failing. God will use these very things for his good.
- It is not my job to make sure my child turns out right. My goal is not to raise godly children. My goal is to be a godly mother.
The biggest lesson God has taught me over these past two years is this: Do what you can and leave the rest up to Him. What can I do? I can:
- Pray for my child. This is HUGE and has the power to change things.
- Set appropriate boundaries.
- Model my own relationship with the Lord in front of him. One of the best things I can do to encourage my teen to have a relationship with the Lord is let him see my own.
One thing I CANNOT DO is control my teen’s heart.
That is God’s part. I get to rest in that.
Mother of teens everywhere, guess what?! We don’t have to just grit our teeth and get through this season! Through the liberating knowledge of who God is and what His part is in parenting my child; and through the power of The Holy Spirit, I am freed up to enjoy this season of my life. And that is what I am going to do…
I am also going to leave my stopwatch home today. By faith.