This week my little boy graduates from high school. I remember lamenting this day when I dropped him off for Kindergarten at Jordan Public School in Jordan, Ontario when he was about this size.
I lamented this season of good-bye. I didn’t want those days to end. I didn’t want to hand him over to the brutal world. I wanted to protect him and keep him.
But as I sit in the St. Louis airport waiting for my flight home, I am not that sad. I am actually pretty dang on proud of this guy. And rather than lamenting the good-bye I am excited about the future God has planned for him.
How did I get here? Well I did a few things right along the way, for both of us. There are some things I enforced. Some habits I fostered and some rules that were non-negotiable.
He did his own laundry.
He just told me the other day that he doesn’t even remember a time that he didn’t do his own laundry. I have managed to raise a self-assured, self-laundering human being. He is able to go into the world of higher education, or whatever he does, and I can rest easy that his underwear are clean.
He got a job.
Since he turned 15 my son has worked at Jimmy John’s making subs, cleaning bathrooms and taking out trash. He has been responsible to the rules of someone other than his parents for the last 3 1/2 years. He learned to work. He got a paycheck. He figured out how to manage his money.
God was more important than me.
Bedtime, chore lists and table manners are not carved in stone nor written in red. Those things are my things. God’s things are more important all day, every day.
Breaking my rules came with minor consequences. Breaking God’s rules came with major ones. We dealt with sin as something that could destroy is body and soul. We prayed a lot. I wept over his sin. We wiped out, removed and poured gasoline on the things that let sin come into his life.
We let him think for himself.
Whether it was politics or theology, we provided the tools and let him formulate his own belief system. Following a career path or a religion that your parents decided for you is hardly a life. He needs to discover his passions, his purpose and the direction of his life on his own, and maybe a little prayer from his mom.
So to my son, as you venture out into the world “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like [a man], be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Cor. 16:13-14