Confession: I am a mom of three sons–25, 21 & 17. They are old enough to be in any of the above situations. Maybe that’s why this image resonates with me.
And yet, I do not consider myself a worry-wart. I rarely text my sons. And I call them even less.
I don’t lay awake wondering when they are going to get home. In fact, I sleep rather like a man. Without a care in the world.
I wasn’t always this way. When my boys were young, I looked at any given situation with an eye to “What could possibly go wrong?”
And I still do it to this day–but with other people’s kids.
Like that parent in Home Depot who doesn’t see his child climbing ass-over-teakettle out of the cart in the middle of the saw-blade aisle?
Or the kid who is sticking her finger in the no-man’s-land part of a closing commercial door–you know, that area that practically guarantees amputation of a digit or four?
How about when little Thor climbs the shelving unit in a store and you can see it pulling away from the wall?
Yikes. Sometimes I let out an anxious scream. Mostly, I just cover my eyes and say, “I can’t look.”
Worrying about young children just comes natural to most mothers.
Like the way I wouldn’t even let my oldest boy, John, on a skateboard until he was nine.
I remember being that mother when I opened the window and yelled, “John! You get off Glen’s skateboard this minute! Don’t let me catch you on it again. I’m not paying the orthodontist for you to knock your teeth out.”
Funny thing was, I had no problem with the middle son, Kris, skateboarding. He started at five.
The youngest, Jakob, started skateboarding at three.
As the number of children increases, it seems the worrying decreases.
When your first child drops his pacifier, you boil it clean.
When your last child drops her pacifier, you brush it off and plug it back in.
That’s not to say the teen years have not given me a few gray hairs–they have. John alone is responsible for every stray strand of gray hiding among my bleached blond.
Anyway, why the big discrepancy between being a worrier when the kids are young and not being one when they are nearly grown?
When kids are younger, they are innocent. They can’t see the danger ahead.
Around the age of sixteen, something kicks in. I saw this with the high school students I taught over the years. They enter their eleventh grade year with more maturity than they left tenth grade with only two months earlier.
This, of course, is not a hard and fast rule, but in general, it holds up.
Even so, as a mother, you know your children and their level of maturity and sensibilities. You allow rites of passage such as driving and nights out with friends when your child is ready to accept the responsibility.
And you withdraw the privileges when they drop the ball.
So how do you do that?
Parenting is not a job for Mrs Milquetoast. It’s hard to let go of the bicycle and let kids pedal on their own. Even harder when it’s your late model Honda SUV. Still…
If you’ve let your children experience failure, they will desire success.
But if you fight every authority figure who corrects them, then they will desire power.
If your children have to work and be responsible for certain things, then you have given them the tools to succeed.
But if you give them the world, they will take it.
If you have brought your children up in God’s word, then you have put them on the right road.
But if you haven’t, your kids will blame everyone but themselves. With you at the top of the list.
And so, if you’ve done your best to raise your children as decent people with a strong moral compass, then there isn’t a whole lot you can do once they walk out your front door to go see friends, etc.
That certainly doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Or that your kids will be model citizens.
Yes, too many mothers are losing grown children to the scourge of heroin and other drugs. Crime and sex trafficking go hand in hand with this. It is a tragedy too often replayed, and all I can say is, “There but for the grace of God go any of us.”
It is hard to imagine that you raise your children up in the way they should go, and they still fall prey to this type of ensnarement. But it does happen.
And so, all I can say is to pray. When it comes to mother’s intuition, it doesn’t hurt to have the Father on speed-dial. God the Father, if there was any doubt.
It’s all any of us can do if we wish to sleep as peacefully as men–Ha!