I don’t really know the answer to that question. That is kind of why I posed it, but I’d like to trace over some familiar words from Scripture that give us valuable parenting advice. Scripture is always a trusted source, and there is a ton of parenting advice found therein.
Proverbs 22: 6 advises parents to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
When you think about it, there is quite a distance between childhood and old age, right? A lot happens between those two points in life. I think there is a reason why we aren’t given a specific date and time in this passage.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and by the time he is married and has his own children, he will not depart from it.”
Ha. No, that’s not what it said, right? Proverbs gives even more of a time differential! Proverbs literally is saying when your young child is into the realm of old age, he will not venture from the basics he was taught as a child.
I think that means God in His grace gives us as human beings a lot of leeway. He knows we are but dust. Our human state means some of us will wander as some sheep wander, but as our Shepherd, He will find and care for roaming sheep.
As the father of prodigal kids, He awaits those who go off in their own wisdom, looking for success only to be batted around by a cruel, cold world. Our young-adult children will probably make some bad decisions apart from us! Did you make bad decisions apart from your parents?
As parents, we can rest in the knowledge that no matter how things look for our children once they leave home and are beyond our physical reach, the teaching we’ve given them while trying our best to instill in them skillful and godly Wisdom will pay off. In some instances, the payoff may not come until late in their lives; perhaps we won’t even be around to see it!
To me, this verse in Proverbs is a verse of promise, a verse of sweet rest for us as parents of teens and young adults. We do our best, then we can let go in the knowledge of three specific things:
1. God knows we are not perfect parents.
2. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect parents.
2. God loves our children even more than we do.
3. God keeps His promises.
Yeah, I know that was four. God is much more trustworthy than I. <3