Finally, it’s time to board the airplane. After waiting in the airport for about 2 hours, we were ready to board the flight so we could get a few hours of sleep. About 30 minutes into the flight the captain came on the intercom and said that we would be cruising about 34,000 feet, and there were good and clear skies ahead of us in our journey to Fort Lauderdale. My wife and I had just finished our second week of back-to-back trips to take two of our young adult children back to school. As I settled into my seat, I began to look back on how fast the summer went by. However, there was something different about this summer when compared to the previous ones, with both of our two young adults. Something had changed. They were different, or maybe they were different all along and I just did not notice.
At times our house felt like it was an Airbnb, with my wife and I being the on-site landlord. Occasionally, our conversations seemed to be forced, and often questions would center around, “What are we eating tonight?” As I look back and reflect on both weekends of traveling, I realized that I miss when they were dependent on me in every part of their lives. Flashbacks of those memories flooded my mind, and I was frozen in time. Then the reality hit me that things as they were will never be the same again. Looking in my phone at the various pictures of our family, I ask myself: How did they grow so fast and where did all that time go so quickly? Have you ever asked yourself those questions regarding your children?
On the right path
Thankfully, these two young adults had done well in school and the path of life that they had chosen. Their needs and expectations had changed, but unfortunately, my emotional expectation of them had remained the same. I cannot tell you the number of times when they were young that I prayed for them to be strong and not be so dependent on me and their mother. Warning: Be careful of what you pray for in your children. My two children had changed right before my eyes. They had become strong, just what I had often prayed for. They were now young adults.
The Summer of Where Were They
I remember, this past summer, when they expressed the desire to visit other churches. I gave them my approval to allow them to experience other places of worship. I must admit it hurt to see them go somewhere else, but at least they were going to church. Nevertheless, what’s ironic to me was that the very same thing I would often say to them they would hear somewhere else, and it was as if it was a new revelation to them. However, this was a teachable moment for me, and it was uncomfortable, but it was my new reality. I had to grow or else I would be left behind.
When I left my son at his dorm, our good-bye was quick. The days of him crying to me when he was disappointed as a child was a distant memory. This was a summer like none other. I had gone from parent to landlord and to now life coach. At 34,000 feet in the air, I had a come-to-Jesus moment. With tears in my eyes, my wife sleeping in the seat next to me, I looked out of the window of the airplane and waved my white flag. I had to let go of my most prized passion, my children. They no longer belong to me. I felt a spirit of calm, and I understood that if we are not careful our children can become idols that we will place before GOD. In these young adults, I had seen traits of myself and their mother. We were not perfect parents, but we did the best that we knew how, and that is all you can do.
The time has come for these baby eagles to fly. They had to disturb the nest to make me realize that it was time for them to go if they were to become all that GOD intended them to be. They must make their own mistakes; they must have their own tests and testimony. Despite it all, the same GOD that we as parents told them about will be with them through it ALL.
“Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift, the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children!” (Psalm 127:4-5a MSG).
Newton Fairweather is the pastor of Faith and Joy Church and the CBMC Fort Lauderdale Board Chaplin.
Read last month’s article by Newton Fairchild at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/build-your-church-build-it-from-the-ground-up/