For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14
Homework time at your household can be a time of joy or frustration depending on the subject. Tonight, the task at hand is completing 100 practice math problems. As your child gets out their paperwork, you notice a sense of despair in their eyes. Sitting at the kitchen table, they try to wrap their mind around fractions, but are struggling desperately to grasp the concept. Having lost all hope of ever being able to understand fractions, they slam down their pencil, throw their hands in the air and shout, “I CAN’T DO THIS! IT’S IMPOSSIBLE!”
Remembering back in the day how frustrated you got over your math homework, you stop doing the dishes and pull up a seat and try to help out. Reassuring them that they can do this, you begin to walk with them through each problem by sharing what you know. Having stared at a blank sheet of paper for such a long time, you realize the first step for your son or daughter is to write the problem down on paper.
At the beginning, they watch as you show them one step at a time how to solve the problem, but after just a few times watching, you hand over the pencil and let them go. They are tentative at first, but then something clicks and they are doing fractions on their own. Suddenly, confidence replaces the hopelessness.
Your job wasn’t to solve the practice problems for your child. It was to show them there was hope in the midst of the situation. It began with helping them write down the problem and take the first step towards understanding. The priority wasn’t making sure they aced the test or received a good grade, but rather helping them understand the process.
As parents, we are tasked with stewarding and guarding our child’s heart. We are called to provide words of wisdom and insight. We are urged to share the hope of the Gospel and help our children figure out how God fits into their life. We aren’t called to be fixers. Sometimes we need to let our children struggle and fail.
Most importantly, we have to believe that the problem cannot get bigger than God. If we focus on solving the problem and not the walk with God, we are reducing God to something smaller than the struggle at hand. When we can understand this, the load is lifted from our shoulders, as we are no longer responsible to solve our child’s problems, but rather be a support structure as they work out their faith. What we have to learn is how to shine the light of Christ into their life and then walk with them through the process of transformation.
- If we are not called to be fixers as parents, what is our role in helping produce change in the lives of our children?
- Where are you more prone to step in and fix a situation for your child rather than let them process it?
God, thank You for stretching me as I reach and pursue a relationship with my child. Thank You for letting me understand how patient You are with me when I struggle to be patient with them. May I trust my child’s heart to You. Allow me to desire the transformation of their heart more than behavior change. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.