That Nasty Business of Letting Go

Perhaps you have heard of helicopter parents.  You know the type, they send their kids off to college and then hover over them trying to keep everything safe and sound so that their child (an adult) doesn’t suffer any problems.  There are many reasons why a parent chooses to do this but two are at the top of the list from my observations.

The first is pride, they have a reputation before others to uphold.  They have made certain comments about their children and the goals and aspirations that those children possess.  They don’t want to tell their friends that their child could not cut it at the school, or that maybe being a successful business person is not in the cards.  And so they work and hover and push the child along so that there is no shame that comes upon any of them.

The second is the issue of fear.  They know the dangers that are lurking.  They know that there are countless ways that a person is harmed and thrown off track in their lives.  They don’t have the confidence that their child has the wisdom to make wise choices, and perhaps they realize that they had never bothered to equip their child with foundational wisdom in the first place.  So they hover, pushing and pressing their child into a path that they are not equipped to walk upon because they lack the basic package of true wisdom to do so.

Yesterday I posted about the need for wise counselors.  Today I want to talk about the time to put wisdom into the life of a child.  I am convinced that parent too often have a child to have a trophy or an experience.  They don’t grasp that they now have a soul for which they are now eternally accountable.  The child is fun at the beginning but as he grows the challenges become greater and greater.  Choices made and words never are spoken that needed to be said.  And then the young adult is off into a world that they have little sense of how to navigate it to the glory of God.

In Proverbs 4:10-13 Solomon tells his son

“Hear, my son, and accept my sayings And the years of your life will be many.  I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths.  When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; And if you run, you will not stumble.  Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.”

Here is a key goal of all parents, to be able to let go, knowing that they have given their sons and daughters the wisdom to walk before God and man in a manner that reflects a true fear of the Lord.  Solomon is not interested in hovering.  He is interested in sending his son off to walk on his own before God.  He gives him warnings to not deviate from this path and go to walk with the wicked (14-17).

And then, in verses 18 and 19 we come to the reasons for his “sending off counsel:”

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know over what they stumble.

If you have done the proper job with your children, when that nasty day of letting them go comes you can walk away in faith.  You can have that sense of certainty that the path they are on is like the breaking of the day.  As they continue on it they shall walk in righteousness as surely as the day grows brighter.  And you warn them that if they step into the path of the sinner that as certain as dusk gives way to full darkness, so shall they descend into folly and sin though at first it may not appear to be true.

So, parents, commit today to be a parent who first fears the Lord yourself that you might begin to walk in wisdom.  Then commit yourself to be a parent who humbly points and models for your children they way that they should walk as well.  Pour the wealth of wisdom that comes through a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ into their hearts and when that nasty day to let go comes, you can do it in faith and not fear.

About Matt Henry

Middle-aged pastor trying to figure out how to be missional in his world. Loves his wife, his children, and his dog Bear. I have a love of woodworking even though woodworking doesn't always love me. The name is xagete but is pronounced exegete.

Posted on April 19, 2013, in Bible Observations, Parenting, Theology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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