The Ache and Joy of Kids Growing Up

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Yesterday my two eldest picked up their high school schedules, and today my youngest received hers. We walked through the halls of the middle school, locating classrooms, figuring out locker combinations, comparing schedules to Julia’s friends.

Sigh.

They’re growing up. (Just look at the picture!)

And there’s still so much to teach them.We recently received a book from a new friend entitled 1001 Things Your Kids Should See & Do by Harry H. Harrison. Around the dinner table, we read a few of them. Some of the things are strange, like kids should eat if they’re sad. (Hmmm, really?) Others are helpful about understanding the Metric System. I can say we’ve done a lot of the things, thankfully. But even patting myself on the back for adhering to the list does nothing for my fear that I haven’t truly prepared my kids for the big, bad, beautiful world.

Do you ever feel that way?

How do I prepare my kids for ministry heartache? For friends who betray? For little girls who suffer? For money stress? For wolves in sheep’s clothing? For dashed dreams? For the inevitable awkwardness of dating?

How do I prepare my kids to engage in the beautiful things in life? For cherishing a sunset after a hard day? For capturing a moment like a firefly and savoring it? For welcoming strangers into our hearts? For discovering the beauty of people who differ?

I fall back on Jesus. He who modeled a life of love to twelve men (and many more folks who tagged along). He who had ministry heartache, betrayal, suffering, stress, and the like. He who slowed down enough to relish His father on ancient hills. He taught by Who He was and what He did. He mentored. Loved. Discipled.

Oh dear Jesus, I pray my heart is one my kids want to emulate. I pray my life shines You. You are Who I want to pass on. Your strength. Your joy. Your surprising and beautiful way to love others. Please guide my children as they venture into this new year of new starts, new friends, new pressures. Walk alongside them. Hold them. Grow them. Love them. Amen.

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