by Jay Duff
We have all heard toddlers say that as they begin to discover they own capabilities. As toddlers become teens, the words might change, but the desire to learn and accomplish larger things continues. One of the most difficult lessons as the parent of teenagers is learning when to allow our teens to do it themselves – especially when you know they are going down the wrong road.
As I look back, these situations took many forms. It might be their selection of friends, a date, even a career path. Or it might be where they put their trust, or where they take risk or seek satisfaction. The stakes grow dramatically through the years. Of course you don’t want to see your kids get hurt, but it’s vital that you allow them to do it themselves and learn from the experience.
Many times during our kids’ late teens, we wanted to take control to prevent a wrong decision, but the right decision was to allow them to proceed and support them if they asked for help. Today as I smile considering their current accomplishments and growth, I see the importance and fruit of these experiences. Experiencing the consequences of their own decisions taught them to take responsibility and move ahead with confidence. Our kids have never said, “Gee Dad, I wish you would have prevented me from doing that. ” But they do say, “Now I understand why you said that was so important.”
Do we ever stop saying, “I can do it myself”? I haven’t. Consider how loving our heavenly Father is towards us. He grants us free will. As our Father teaches us, he sanctifies us. He is gracious and merciful when we stumble. He protects us as a perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present Father. I can set out with boldness knowing I am a child of the King. It seems that each time I stumble, I can look back at His word and I am reminded – Now I understand why you said that was so important.