And so it begins or rather, continues…
Life never stops. It just keeps going. It doesn’t even slow. In fact, it feels like it just ramps up.
When Minhee and I welcomed our first child, J, about 14 years ago, the one most consistent advice or comment we received from those who were older and wiser were these following words:
“Enjoy. Time really flies.”
We respectfully nodded. Again and again. Every time someone said that, we responded precociously:
“Yes, we know.” (Nod. Nod. And on to the next conversation)
But the truth is you never really know how fast time flies until you actually go through the seasons of time and life. You feelin’ me?
We find ourselves telling the exact same words to the younger friends and folks in our life.
“Please enjoy. Soak it in. Time really flies…”
And of course, they respond – respectfully – in the same way that we did so often in our younger days as parents. [Nod. Nod.]
Except this time, we reject their precocious or naive nods. What do we do? We stop them, “shhh” them, and slowly share these words:
“Shhh. Listen. Hear this. Hear this well. Eat these words. Let it resonate. And thank us later.
Time really does fly by.
These days…enjoy them because you’ll never get them back. They are a blur. Please enjoy this time. Enjoy each other. Enjoy your child. Enjoy your children. Embrace this season – the highs and lows. Call upon God. Be gracious with one another. Bless one another. Be present and enjoy these days. It’s all a gift. Treasure it. Cherish it. All of it. And over all things, love one another.”
Another very significant advice I’d love to share with others is an ephiphany I woke up to couple years ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.
While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.
Our purpose as parents is to eventually…
This is why it’s so emotional when you first drop off your child for the first time in preschool or kindergarten, and then again on the first days of middle school, high school, or college. It is a foreshadowing of our purpose as parents to ultimately, release them. As much as we want to hoard, protect, keep, board up, or lock up our kids, it contradicts the ultimate purpose that God has for us as parents: Our calling as parents is to love, nurture, protect, nourish, care, mentor, disciple, teach, correct, raise up, empower…but ultimately:
To release. To send out. To send forth.
Fellow parents: As much as we want to cling on to our children – do so with wisdom and in fact, with discerning loose hands. Be mindful of the destination and purpose. Our children are not ours to keep for eternity. But in releasing them, ponder – even now – these important questions: What is it that we release them to? To whom do we release them? What is the direction? the mission? the worldview? the mindview? the heartview?
May we point our children to Jesus – with our words, affections, and actions.
I remind myself – again – of these words (and this purpose) as school starts this week and a new season embarks in our family. For the first time, all three of our children are in three different schools – elementary (4th grade), middle school (7th grade) and high school (9th grade).
Just in case you missed it:
Minhee and I now have a high schooler in the home.
Everyone put your hands up. Hands up. Hands up.
OMG. OMG. OMG.
And as we embark on this season, I am grateful that I have advice and wisdom to share and simultaneously, covet and request wisdom and advice.
So, can you help?
Here are my questions for us as parents and for our daughter, Jubilee, who is entering high school. (FYI: All of our kids have attend public schools.) I’m going to ask her to read the comments this weekend:
- What advice would you give Minhee and I as parents?
- Perhaps from your days as a high schooler yourself or as a current or past parent of a high schooler, what advice would you give my daughter?
- [For my daughter and others] What was the best and worst thing about the high school experience for you?
- Faith. What advice would you give us – parents and student – to remain steadfast and grow in our faith as followers of Christ.
Heck, what advice would you give any parent as kids embark on another year of school?
Thanks in advance for sharing your experience, wisdom, and advice. I know it’ll encourage us and I hope it encourages others who read this.
Time flies. Let’s really enjoy it and enjoy one another.