Parenting

Controlling vs. Contributing to Your Child’s Future

February 18, 2016

I’ve come to the conclusion that every child, whether they admit it or not must be afraid of the dark. I can’t tell you how many times my kids would call me into their rooms and ask me to leave a night-light, or keep the door open so that the monsters in their closets wouldn’t come out. 

As adults, most of us master the fear from the uncertainty we feel in the dark. But the uncertainty really doesn’t go away, it is still there, because when you cannot see there is a lack of control. You can’t protect yourself from tripping and falling if you can’t see where you are going. You have to feel your way around.

As I have parented, I have often been anxious about what I can’t see in my child’s future. Unfortunately, there are so many things I can’t control. Will they fall in with the wrong crowd? Will they hit an academic wall in school? What if they stumble in their beliefs? Will they get stuck into a harmful relationship?

But the darkness that I anguish over the most is the darkness of an uncertain future. Life looms ahead and how can I protect them if I can’t see what is coming? I just don’t have any control. 

I don’t have control because it was never intended that I control my child. God is in control. My job, as a parent, is to contribute to my child’s growth spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.

We can’t CONTROL our child’s future, but we can CONTRIBUTE to our child’s future. {Tweet This}

My job is to stand beside my child and contribute as much light as I can to the path in front of them. And part of lighting their path means directing them in the way they should go.

Sometimes it is hard to know the difference between controlling and contributing. So, here are 3 ways to contribute light to your child’s future as they get older:

Wise Mentors

When you are trying to control your child you usually want a monopoly on who speaks into the life of your child because you know best, right? But your child needs wisdom from voices other than yours. Be sure to seek out older family members, friends, coaches, or youth leaders who will give your child wise counsel and be a voice of reason that echoes your own.

Smart Opportunities

Sometimes the greatest opportunities for growth take a child out of their comfort zone and ours. It can be dangerous to send your child on a missions trip to Uganda or to a University 1000 miles away. But they will never reach God’s potential if they don’t learn to trust Him in difficult situations. Starting when they are young be on the lookout for opportunities of interest to them that will stretch them, different teams, volunteer groups, and even internships that your child can become a part of and learn from.

Personal Relationships

Sometimes the to do list of a good mom is all about worldly accomplishments like grades and sports. We want to make sure that they do their best in everything. But lasting joy is not determined by grades and accolades. Your greatest contribution to the future happiness of your child is to guide your child in meaningful relationships with God, family, and friends. Learning to love well is the key to past, present, and future joy. 

Lastly, remember there may come a time when your child rejects the light you can give. If so, depending on the age of the child and the situation, sometimes a parent must step back and let the child feel their way around, in the dark.

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