Three of my children are sitting entirely too close to the edge peering over at the rushing waters of the river below them. As I look at this picture my heart drops. They were just too close if one had slipped and fallen I would have jumped into the river to save them. The strength of the current that day would have most likely sent both of us to a watery grave. Knowing that now it is difficult for me to look at this picture.
As parents we have been entrusted with a life separate and distinct from our own to care for, guide, teach, honor, love and help develop. As parents without hesitation we would jump into that cold water to save our children in many different ways. However, as our children age we learn that we can only give them so much and we have to let them grow into their very own individual and unique person. We cannot control how close to the edge they will get as they age. When they are little we keep them within arm’s reach sheltering them from the drops of this life. As they age and grow taller than us we must continue to parent and guide them with a little more distance. We must pray that the foundation we set beneath them over the last 10 -30 years will keep them safe. We cannot always be there to say “Back up you are way too close to the edge.”
Our children will become teens and then adults and they will find themselves many times on the edge of different experiences and as parents we must do the best we can to prepare them for these times. We must love them so deeply that their self esteem and confidence is so high that they don’t feel the need to succumb to peer pressure. We must teach them how to be strong and stand for what they believe in by witnessing our actions. We must do our job to the best of our ability and then pray and leave the rest to God. We must stand with our arms open all of our life to accept our children as teens or adults and to love them more deeply than anyone before or after them.
As parents we must pray that when they sit at the edge of that choppy water they will have the knowledge of the danger, the strength to walk away and the deep rooted love to know they have nothing to prove to another by jumping into the rapids of the wrong choices.