I believe the hardest thing we can do as parents is allow our children to fail. Every parent’s heart longs for perpetual success for their child. Who doesn’t wish for their child to have all the good things in life? And letting a child fail doesn’t really seem like a good thing.
I like to think that I am not a smother mother or helicopter parent, but I still fall into fix-it mode when one of my kids is struggling. Now that I only have one child at home, my tendency to step in and help has gone into overdrive. The boundaries I have set with my youngest have recently become a little blurred.
I swore I would never be the mom who calls or emails teachers when a kid falls behind; and yet I have printed off assignments, called his teacher, and emailed her daily, trying to help him raise his grade. And he doesn’t seem to care. How can he set the curve in calculus and physics, and fail English?
I am frustrated, worried, and anxious about my kid and his future. I’m embarrassed that my kid won’t be on the honor roll again this year. I’m concerned about his chances to get into the college he wants to attend. I’m disappointed that my incredibly intelligent child has decided to behave so irresponsibly.
My mind runs through ridiculous scenarios where he ends up trapped in a dead-end job and never realizes his full potential. Or worse, he ends up panhandling on the street corner for extra change from passing motorists. His sign will read “Will solve Calculus Equations for Food.” It’s times like these that a having an active imagination isn’t such a great thing.
These are the times that I need to cling to the promises of God. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28; or “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” Proverbs 3:5. God actually knows the future, I don’t. Maybe this will be the little bump in the road that sets my son’s feet back on the right road. Maybe my efforts to help him and protect him from failure are hurting him and setting him up for future failure.
I’m finally beginning to understand that loving my kids means allowing them to experience the negative that comes from bad decisions. Realizing that actions have consequences might be the most important thing he learns this year. If I step in, I deprive him of learning a lesson that God wants him to learn.
So, I am praying for the patience to watch without worry and love without limits. To pass, he will need to make the decision for himself and work like he never has before; the result will be greater work ethic and a greater understanding of deadlines. If he fails, he will learn that irresponsibility has its own fallout and his maturity level will receive a much-needed booster shot. Either way, it’s a win.
I am believing that in the future, he will be visiting with his beautiful wife and children and we will reminisce about the silly choices he made as a high school senior. God is good. God’s got this. I need to release my need to control what I can’t control and trust the outcome to our gracious God.
Parenting is not for wimps.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.