2 things to remember when your child’s plans aren’t your plans

Jan Walker

Last week, I attempted to wrestle my son’s baseball cleats onto his growing almost-fifth-grader feet. As much as we tugged and pulled the shoes, the conclusion was undeniable — the shoes were clearly not a good fit anymore. Away they went into “the pile:” that tower of outgrown clothing present in every home with children. As baffling as it is, items that fit them so perfectly a month ago are now tight, uncomfortable, and clearly not fit for the person they are growing to be.

The month of May is a time of graduation and transition. This season — like my son’s baseball cleats — reminds us how quickly the passage of time can seem with our kids. It’s natural for parents to have dreams for our children, to outfit them with a plan for their future. What hobbies or sports will they enjoy? What colleges will they choose between, if at all? What career path will they go?

But what if our expectations for them become as uncomfortable as their old outgrown clothing? What happens when their plans don’t line up with our plans for them?

Remember Your Child’s Path Has Been Set by God

Proverbs 22:6 states “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” The key phrase in this verse is “the way they should go.” The verse doesn’t say “they way we determine they will go” or “the way we want them to go.”

Every child is specifically designed by God with unique abilities, gifts, and talents. “The way” means the way God set for them while they were not even formed yet (Psalm 139:16). He planned their days long before we may have even been aware of their presence.

Remember Your Children Are On Loan for a Season

As parents, we must recognize children are a gift from God, and ultimately they belong to Him (Psalm 127). Our goal as parents is to move our children from complete dependence on us to complete dependence on Christ. Our role is not to shove our children into a dream they no longer fit into, but to equip them to trust God as He reveals their journey to them — even if part of the journey is unexpected or uncomfortable (Jeremiah 29:1-14). We can help them recognize their particular abilities, and encourage them to use those for God’s glory.

Our goal as parents is to move our children from complete dependence on us to complete dependence on Christ.

As much as we love our children, God loves them more. He designed an amazing future for each one of our children, and we are blessed with a front row seat in the journey.

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