My wife absolutely loves maps. Her dad loves maps. And somehow even though we have navigation apps on our phones she still reaches for that massive road atlas that takes up the entire front seat on trips. I wish I had something that big and clear today, cause I’m out of map. I was just getting a feel for parenting and then our girls became grown ups. What’s up with that? My screensaver still portrays them as little cherubs, but reality displays a very different picture. I think they still need me, but at this point, I need to be invited in. And frankly, I’m not sure how well I’m doing with all of this. If I had to place the “you are here” arrow over the map of our parenting, I’d be hard pressed to know exactly where to put it.
They still need me, but at this point, I need to be invited in.
This stage requires the greatest shift in parenting. Going from an initiation to a response mode. Rather than directing, and asserting yourself into their lives and the circumstances of their world, this stage requires a parent to wait to be asked and invited in. A consultant is asked for their thoughts and opinions, they don’t just show up and offer unsolicited advice, like I did last month. We want to be an encouragement and a help to our girls in these years, and of course we would love to help them avoid the pitfalls that defined our lives when we were that age. Truth is, we have no control. To believe or to pretend otherwise will only serve to frustrate. So the motive must find sanity in reality. The developing motive for me in this stage of parenting is influence.
The developing motive for me in this stage of parenting is influence.
It is not as simple as 1, 2, 3 and there are obviously transitions between each of these stages. Though the transitions are tricky, as much for the parent as they are for the child, we must be committed to navigate them the best we can so that our children will become responsible adults who are able to function and live independent mature lives. Moving from controller to coach was one thing, but consultant? I am still trying to figure this one out. There is no real map for this. So I am observing those who have traveled this road before me in curiosity and desperation. I am working diligently to remain engaged with my adult children as they make decisions that are theirs to make. That’s easier said than done. And I am praying more for them now, than ever before.