Your son’s just started high school. I can just see that first day. He’s all ready to go out the door, catch the school bus: back-pack stuffed with school supplies, water bottles, - not lunch because he wants to try their lunch, to see if it’s different. . . better. His back pack isn’t heavy, yet. There’s room for books, but not as much room as he’ll realize he needs.
You probably watched him walk to the bus, like independence on training-wheels, that walk up to a doorway to a new era.
You’re more left behind than ever. You can’t walk him out, stand with him like you did in the primary years. You can’t just pop into school to see the teacher at the end of the day to pick up nuggets and morsels of what’s really going on.
Hands-off time has begun – kind of like on the cooking competitions you see on t.v. when that buzzer rings, hands fly off – and up.
He pulls himself up through those bus doors that will take him to a school where everything is possible – booze, drugs, PDA, friends who lift up and those who pull down, teachers who encourage and discourage, believers, non-believers – it’s all in there.
. . . . and you just let him go. . . .
When you just let him go, remember the other back pack – the one you can’t see – that soul back pack that you started filling the day he was born.
It’s a bottomless back-pack containing everything he’ll need. You’ve filled it with God’s word, a power supply that works anywhere, love, encouragement, motivational speeches, stories to inspire, maybe even a rebirth certificate so he knows to whom he belongs. God’s filled it, too – with spiritual gifts, love languages – and a plan.
It’s a back-pack that is designed to fit lightly, easily, like the second skin to the soul.
But God designed all children differently. Some will wear that back-pack always. Some will set it down, walk off and leave it. Some will empty it out and fill it with other things. Some will use parts and pieces of it.
Why? Because each of us is designed differently. We meet God differently, take different pathways to Him. Some children, teens and adults are coachable and make those connections between what you tell them and how it applies. They don’t have to experience it to believe mentored cause/effect.
Some do have to experience life to understand cause/effect. Coachable? Not yet. They need hands-on experience about why bad is bad and good is good. They’ll pull everything out of their back-pack, re-evaluate it time and again – and, eventually, faith realized, they’ll put the good stuff back in.
You can put the same exact thing in each child’s soul back-pack – but they all won’t treat it the same. Some of your teens will go into high school coachable, utilizing what you filled their soul-pack with. Some won’t.
That’s when mothering is the hardest.
Don’t think you’ve failed if they set that back-pack down, empty it out. God’s not surprised. He knew they would have to learn by experience. He’s the designer, after all.
The hard part of parenting a teen is that it’s more hands-off than on. It’s letting them take control of their souls – and the soul back-pack.
Remember, there’s a no-fail response in every soul-back-pack. God put it there.
Like the cooking competitions when the buzzers ring – hands-off - hands-up.
. . . . that’s right – lift holy hands to a Father who loves your teen even more than you do, raise them high for intercession – and in the raising of the hands, give each challenge, each bad moment, God’s got it – and He won’t drop it!
And, if your son sets that back-pack down, God knows where it is and will help him find it.
If your son’s emptied everything out, God will help him find all the good stuff that was in it, too.
While you’re praying, on the hard days, ask God to allow you to see your son as He sees your son.
See him as God sees him because on some days He’ll need some who can when he can’t. See him in the faith and hope of God’s plan.
Be, Friend, like the centurion, who asked Jesus to save his servant (Luke 7:10) – who interceded on behalf of his servant for him to be saved – Have that kind of trust.
Be like the Canaanite woman, who interceded for her demon-possessed daughter (Matthew 15: 21-28) – have that kind of faith
Be like the father, whose son was a lunatic and ill – who, even the disciples (church people) didn’t quite understand how big God was yet, who Christ healed – who encouraged us to have the faith of a mustard seed so that mountains can be moved – and broken people healed (Matthew 17:14-20).
As you take your hands off, Brandee, lift them high – and if they get heavy in the midst of a great battle, like Moses against the Amalek, know that God gave you friends Aaron and Hur who will help you hold your hands up in prayer so that the battle can be won. (Exodus 17:10-13).
Brandee, you’ve filled your son’s soul-back-pack the good things, the God-things. It’s an independence-with-training-wheels time. You have to trust God – hands off - and up!
Maryleigh is a wife of 31 years, a mom of 5 sons ranging in ages from 28 to 13. She is a seeker of solutions to challenges, the perfect white cake recipe, the washer of the Blue Cotton Blanket, trying to raise sons to be strong, manly men who love God and show the love of Jesus Christ to others through their words and actions. Trying to live grace and joy through the journey, she writes at her blog Blue Cotton Memory.