School is back in session!
where did the time go?
For the past eleven years or more, my children ended their school year sometime in June and commenced the next either in late August or early September. Each school year ended and began in much the same way.
In 2000, I had picked up our daughter from Kindergarten then drove to the elementary school where Sam was finishing up his class party, preparing to advance into the 2nd grade and looking forward to summer vacation. That year I was to pick up Sam from school leaving from his school and head towards Disneyland .
I had dressed Sam in black pants and a new white button down shirt. Granted, this sounds a wee bit formal for the last day of school and certainly a bit confining for travel, but the intentions were to stop at my Aunt’s house in Glendale on the way to Disneyland.
When I went in to get Sam and gather those belongings that he had accumulated during the school year, I was made aware that a tradition of the class was for each to sign each classmate’s shirt. Not in ink, but in permanent maker pen! The brand new white button down shirt was now a memoir of his early school days.
Back then, I would awaken very early to prepare lunch for my children, awaken them in time to get them dressed, fed and brush my daughter’s hair. This alone was a daunting task that would tend to curdle even the freshest milk. We would pile into the car and off to school it was.
This morning was much different from then, but as far as the past few years have gone, it was quite the norm. At least outwardly it seemed to be.
I was no longer waking before them. They now set their alarms. Both of them now get up, dress, brush their own teeth, brush their own hair, prepare their own lunches and make their own breakfast. They gather what they need for the day and out the door they go. No longer is it a fifteen minute walk to school (which by the way was the extent of their exercise) but rather into Sam’s car for a short drive to academia bliss. What happened? Where did the years go?
Inwardly, I have shared what raced through my mind. I reflected on those early days (as a single parent) and the blessing of my wife who picked up and shared the upbringing at a most critical age, especially for my daughter. I reflected on the games, practices and productions I sat through that concluded with the falsehood all of us parents and those who preceded us have told. “That was wonderful”. “It was so good”. But they were proud and it was important for them for us to be proud with them.
But the reflection went deeper. As I watched them climb into the car and pull out of the driveway, I was quick to realize that this would last less than another year. Sam, now a senior will be leaving home next June. Schea will be gone in September of 2012.
My children, who I have nurtured, protected guided, fed, and clothed raised and most of all tried to guide and teach will be gone. I will have an “empty nest”. It will be my wife and myself (and our dog, Beanie) all alone in a three bedroom home with no one to talk to except each other. (That should go well).
Then it hit me. Have I done my job? They are grown and out they go. They are leaving the nest.
What is our job? How do we know when we have succeeded or failed? By what do we gauge success or failure as a parent?
Before I came to Christ, I had no idea of what the bible said about raising children. I could only go by what I thought was right. In a secular world it seems to be easier.
I have always been strong with disciple. Not because of what the bible teaches, but rather I knew that disciple was the key to obedient children. I was demanding and felt that children should be governed by laws, rules and most important realize and remember just who is in charge. Little did I realize, all the while I was following God's direction in raising children. God must know what he is talking about because it has worked.
I think that most parents (believers or not) face the same dilemma when the time comes to saying good-bye. We have dedicated almost twenty years of our lives towards their up bringing. We have cared and mended boo-boo’s. We have set through the good times and bad. The games they won and the defeats they suffered. We were there for the boyfriends, girlfriends, the failures and successes. We have experienced their hits and the misses the ups and the downs. Now, we watch them leave.
Here is where some tend to be under the misconception that they are abandoning their children. Parents feel that by sending them out into this world (which by the way is no first grade party where only a white shirt will be the recipient of damage) marred by uncertainty, cruelty and ever changing situations that they are leaving those who for so many years were dependant on us as parents to survive. Well, here is where you need to ask yourself the question. Did I fail or have I done right?
Firstly, we must accept that Children do leave. Not only does society mandate that, but the bible stresses the point. The bible tells us that they are going to leave. How they leave and what they do when they leave will be in direct proportion to what you did to prepare them. Proverbs 22:6 tells us; “train a child in the way he should go. When he is older, he will not turn from it”.
How have you trained your child? Do they have disciple? Are they respectful? Are they walking with God?
If they aren’t disciplined then you might what to refer to Proverbs 13:24. Disciple doesn’t stop or begin with spankings when they have done something wrong. Teaching there are consequences for each action will be something they carry with them the rest of their lives. How they live or deal with any given situation will be directly affected by knowing or being able to see the outcome of a decision. That comes from what consequences they have endured while making those decisions when you as a parent had the ability to correct it. It was your job to guide them, make the corrections.
Ephesians 6 tells us to bring our children up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
We know what is instructed and what the Lord requires. If you don’t, it can be found in the how to bring up children manual or otherwise known as basic instructions before leaving earth. (B.I.B.L.E.) Following those instructions is fail proof.
We could go on and on with scripture that pertains to bringing up our children. But the bottom line is; in less than a year we will have to let go. Not abandon, but let go. We will have to push them out of the nest and let them learn to fly.
In my case, I will be sending my son off to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis . I will be proud yet at the same time need to realize my job is over. He will no longer seek my advice. I will no longer have the right to make demands or give orders, but rather furnish opinions.
My daughter will be with me a year longer, but soon she too will be pushed from the nest and made to fly. She hasn’t made a decision where she will fly, but I am sure whatever she decides will also make me proud.
I remember when Sam was fifteen how the sound of my voice while being the voice of a father, not a friend brought chills to his blood. Soon, he will be bring chills to his son’s blood, turning from the conversation and realizing that he sounds just like his dad.
Schea, now 16 years old
Sam and Schea; Sam 3 Schea 1
Sam 16 years
This is a good example why boys need you to be a parent, not a friend!