The job of a parent is to be the guide walking behind the little, stumbling child, while steadying, gently guiding, prodding, and checking until the right way becomes his or her habit. Then watching and coaching still. A parent that runs behind the child to teach how to ride a bike is a good metaphor for parenting. Eventually they take off and keep their balance. But the parent is close by until it is safe. Parenting is like this. And you will use this parenting skill, first, for the most basic life skills. As they grow, you will use this skill to teach the deepest spiritual and moral principles. The job is not done even when they are released to head off to college. The parenting skills I speak of will be very much in use when the child is thinking of finding a mate. The child may NOT be distant or secretive to avoid the conversations because the matter is too important to be sidelined as a parent. Instead you will kindly and lovingly be asking your daughter, “Who is the boy who asked you to go out for dinner? Tell us about him. What is his background? Does he worship God? Is he kind and respectful to people? Does he invest his time and energy in important things?” The godly parent will not leave this most important stage of life solely in the hands of the child. No, it’s new ground so that our children will often make the biggest mistakes of their life exactly at this point. So get behind your children as they take off the training wheels. Only push them free when they have the control. And expect to by them as they are making the biggest decisions of their lives. God bless you.
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