Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Family series #6: Smothering our Kids

“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.” With the picture of birds flying away, those were the words of a poster that hung in our daughter’s bedroom when she was about sixteen. She had chosen that poster and sometimes when I went into her bedroom, I would look at it and ponder the message.

She was not a rebellious girl and I knew she was not hinting to us that she wanted to run away from home, but I wasn’t sure I fully understood the message. As a teen, she with her two older brothers, never were rebellious growing up in our home in peaceful, beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I can still hear the clop, clop sound as the Amish drove down the county road past our house in their horse drawn carriages. We were a close knit family, and did many things together, including educating our children at home and in our small Christian school that met in our church basement. This was not a popular idea back in the 1970’s, but my wife and I did what we felt we had to do.

We never forbade nor encouraged our teenagers to date.
When our children came to their teen years, we never forbade them dating, but none of the three had any desire to date anyone in the area and we did not encourage it. When each of them were teens, they found jobs and started working part time while finishing their high school education. We permitted them to buy cars to get to work and to visit their friends. They had each earned our trust. Though they spent most of their time at home, they were always free to visit their friends or have their friends over to our home. A wise investment of a 24 foot above ground pool in our back yard made life a little more interesting for them at home.

While still in elementary school we had taken our children with us to visit Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. whenever we took high school students from our church to visit the school. So by the time our three were in high school, they eagerly awaited the time when they could attend BJU as students. As each one left home to start school, it was always a tearful time for us as we said goodbye. It felt like part of our heart was being torn from us. It was especially difficult when we sent our youngest, our daughter to college. By then we were living in Flagstaff, Arizona. Our hearts ached with sadness as we watched our daughter fly out from the Phoenix airport headed for BJU. Yet, at the same time we rejoiced that she was headed to a school we could fully trust with the care and education of our daughter.

A great place to find a Christian spouse
Each of our sons found their wives at B.J.U. and our daughter found her husband there during her sophomore year. We are so thankful to God that each of them have godly mates and each of them have raised godly sons and daughters who desire God’s will for their lives.

We seldom see our sons and their families because of the distance, but God in His amazing grace did a wonderful thing for us. In His sovereignty He brought our daughter and her husband and children to Albuquerque, N.M. and a year later He brought my wife and me to the same city.  For sixteen years God gave my wife and me the blessed privilege of having them grow up in our church  and watching their three children come to Christ and start living for Him.  How gracious God has been to us!

Now I understand much better the message of that poster in our daughter’s bedroom thirty years ago. Though we loved our children and were a close-knit family, we resisted the temptation to smother our children by being at every youth activity and every party with them. We trusted our youth workers in our church. We gave our children room to breathe and increased independence as they grew older and earned our trust. Though we would have enjoyed watching all our 11 grandchildren grow up with us in the same town, that has never been the case; but God in His sovereignty, wisdom and love brought our daughter and her family back to us. Through weekly phone conversations and through emails, we have a relationship with our sons that is perhaps even closer now than it was when they were children at home. For the way He has led in our lives we give Him praise.

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May 25, 2006 - Posted by | Family Series

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