Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Gift of Influence

We've been doing a great series on parenting and marriage at church the past several weeks. It has really challenged me to think about some things, especially as a parent (because we all know I have this wife gig down pat!) Ha! Seriously, it's so easy to get wrapped up in parenting today -- forgetting to be far-sighted as a parent.

As a Christian parent, I know my ultimate goal is for my children to love God and live in his ways, but getting from point A to point B is obviously the issue. It's easy to get tangled up in today's sibling rivalry, today's sleep issues, today's runny nose, etc. However, I've really been meditating (as far as meditating gets amid the noise during the day and the few seconds before I'm snoring at night) on the importance of influence in my children's lives. As we talked about in Sunday school a couple of weeks ago, my children are still at that stage where we primarily use the "size" and "position" cards in daily kiddo management. However, that day will come all too soon where influence is of upmost importance in the relationship between myself and my children.

I never really thought about my parents' role in my marriage or as a parent. I know that Nick and I have the bulk of the control over how our marriage goes. We act selfishly or irresponsibly, that will be seen in the condition of our marriage. But, God revealed to me a glimpse of what it's like to be the parent of a married adult child, through the movie "Fireproof" and a couple of other ways recently. You want the best for them, and can see farther down that marriage and parenting road, spying the potholes ahead, but you don't have a direct hold on the steering wheel to steer their marriage or parenting decisions (nor should you). However, if you've done the right things throughout the years to establish a healthy relationship with your adult child, you do have a measure of influence and credibility with them. I just pray that I can build those strong foundational relationships with each of my children. I know that each day I'm building or tearing down ... while that is an overwhelming and terrifying thought if I allow myself to chew on it for too long, it is also an important reminder to make the most of each day with my children and of the magnificent responsibility God has granted me.

A couple who taught our Sunday school class in Columbia used to tell us that they were praying for their daughters' future husbands (their daughters were junior high and high school age at the time). I never really understood that until recently. We had the pleasure of attending their youngest daughter's wedding a few weeks ago, which I think God used to remind me of how they have faithfully prayed for years in advance for that union. I often want instant fixes to issues with my children, to see instant results -- but God has used this to remind me to focus on the big picture and to parent each day, with the end in mind.


Sharon said...

What great thoughts! So deep! I loved the great reminders and analogies you used. I had some of those same thoughts lately about the parenting side of a married child...more the "holy moly, I won't be in control" thoughts! :) Imagine that...

Julie said...

love this post!