Countdown to Adulthood
You’ll find that the story content of many movies is about the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Often, an overconfident teen meets the world head on and is no match for it. The movie ends with the humbled young adult better off for the life-lessons learned. In reality, it is the fear of the passage from “adolescence” to “adult” that often leads to a “failure to launch” or even the “boomerang effect” when children move out only to return home a short time later.
I was watching a movie with Andree recently where the mother and father were facing the “boomerang effect” with their daughters. At one point in the movie the father looks at their mother and says: “You know how our friends are always complaining about how their children have moved off and never come to visit. Why can’t that happen to us?” I am hopeful that these are exaggerations of the extremes. Parents really do want their kids to function in the world as well-equipped and confident adults. We want them to leave our nests and build lives of their own, but we most definitely want them over as often as possible for family dinners.
What we have been saying all along is that personal faith in the Lord Jesus is critical to possess and develop as we move through the years. I submit to you that personal faith in the Lord Jesus is critical to functioning as a well-equipped and confident adult in this world. Watchful parents anticipate the angst which accompanies this transition and remind their kids of all that the “Faith Path” has taught them.
I want to restate here what I said in the beginning. It is our responsibility to model a life of faithfulness before our children and teach them what the scripture demands of us in keeping faith. We pray for our children, and we teach them to pray. We resource them with as much as we have been given to do so. We are responsible for this and accountable to God for it. We are not responsible for the choices of those we disciple—not even our kids. And just because we cannot control the outcome does not mean we get a pass on this responsibility.
As your children approach adulthood, be mindful of opportunities to mark the milestones of their progress with meaningful exchanges. We call these Rites of Passage. Rites of Passage are there to instill confidence in the young man or woman that they are loved, charged, and affirmed. They are natural predecessors before our children launch from home. Even before Jesus entered his official ministry, he went through the ceremony of baptism. His Father had some words for Jesus on this occasion, and for us:
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”
This is a wonderful model to follow as parents. Even though our children aren’t Jesus, we do love them, are proud of them, and delight in them. Follow God’s example and tell them so.