One of my daughter's favorite books as a little girl was Misty of Chincoteague. Now, Chincoteague is an island off the eastern shore of Virginia, and it's best known for its beautiful, wild, white ponies, like
Misty. At one point in the book, Misty and her mother, Phantom, are in a
horse pen on this farm. And the two children who live there are distressed
because they see Phantom kicking her colt Misty. They yell at her to stop. Well, enter Grandma, with the wisdom of the years. She says to the
children, "Kids, Phantom isn't trying to hurt her foal. She's actually loving her in the hardest way there is. She knows the time has come for
Misty to be on her own, and she's trying to get her ready for it." That's
pretty good horse sense, huh?
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "A
Parent's Hardest Job."
It's always good to know your goal - if you're flying an airplane, if
you're running with a football, if you're raising a child. And a parent's
ultimate objective is described to the first parents, Adam and Eve, in our
word for today from the Word of God, Genesis 2:24. Now, talking about the
concept of family that He has just created, here's what God says: "For this
reason a man will leave his father and mother (did you get that? Leave his
father and mother) and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."
There's that hard word, "leave." Ultimately, your son or daughter is
supposed to leave you. Which tells us that our children are not ours to
keep. And our mission from God: to prepare our children to leave us - to
live without us, not to make them tied to us, always dependent on us. Apparently, horses know they have to do it. Although I'm not sure you
should employ the same method like Misty's mom did, like kicking your child! I think you should have the same goal.
This process of preparing our children to live without us actually starts
very young. You don't come every time they cry or call. You don't solve
every problem for them. You teach them how to solve that kind of problem;
you teach them a problem-solving process. You don't give them an endless
supply of money - you give them ways to earn money and then you show them
how to plan their spending. And when they're out, they're out - just like
you and me, huh?
As your children grow older, you don't make every decision. You teach
them how to make it; how to evaluate the plusses and minuses; you give them
good questions to ask - and you let them make some mistakes. Getting a child ready to stand on his or her own means giving something better than a
rule for every occasion, which, of course, is impossible. You teach them a
personal set of principles that will cover every moral choice in life. You
don't just load them up with right answers - you teach them how to ask good
questions. A second-hand faith will never survive. You need to help them
find their own first-hand, personal relationship with Jesus Christ in their
Everything in us as parents wants to protect them from every hurt or
mistake ... we want to hold on, something to tie our identity to theirs. But that's not how our Creator meant for it to be. We are assigned by God
to nudge our children slowly but surely toward the gate of personal responsibility by giving them greater and greater opportunities to exercise
it. If you carry out your divine assignment well, your son or daughter will one day rise up and call you "blessed" because you succeeded in a parent's hardest and most important job - you loved them enough to get them
ready to leave.