We ship Kylie back to college this week. It’s sad on multiple levels. But it is part of the process of watching a young person grow up. On the whole, it would be much, much sadder if it didn’t happen. If I tell Tracie that enough times, maybe she will start to believe me.
I have taken to saying in recent years that parents’ primary job — indeed, in the end, their only job — is teaching their children how to be adults. In time the child will have to go out into the world and make his or her own way, benefitting others as much as possible and burdening them as little as possible. As Christians, of course, we emphasize the spiritual aspect of adulthood even more — the need for them to learn to glorify God. Thus all the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” administered over the first couple of decades of life (Ephesians 6:4).
When parenting is done properly, the parents should have every reason to expect good results. But children will surprise you. They may ignore godly guidance and go to the devil. Or they may exceed their parents’ feeble efforts and be more godly than Mom and Dad combined.
In the end, the college years teach us that our choices are our own — and they come with consequences. In the Hammons house, the girls have come to realize that Dad has no intention of fixing every problem — particularly problems of their making. That’s not meanness; that’s life. They will grow much faster, and much better, if I’m not sitting on their shoulder 24 hours a day.