Today is my daughter’s birthday! She is a sophomore in high school and for a typical sophomore this is the birthday they have been waiting for. Dreaming of driving, fighting for more freedom… obtaining a driver’s license is the best gift ever!
Sadly for my daughter this is not the case… for today she is only 15.
She started kindergarten at the age of 4-years and 357-days-old! Young, but ready. In discussing whether or not to hold her back all those many years ago, I remember the director of her preschool saying that for my daughter her young age wouldn’t be an issue, but for a few times…THIS year being one of them!
Over the next 365 days my daughter will watch ALL of her friends start driving, some just weeks away as it is. But in this first week of school here’s what has hit me:
Even though she is a year away from driving, she is sophomore which means she is at a stage that is going to require much wisdom and discernment on the part of my husband and me, and also her.
It’s a big year. And for us, as parents, it means losing more control as she seeks more independence and even more socializing, which includes people whom we do not know. To top it off, the much dreaded arrival of dating!
Ughhhh; how did we get to this point so fast!
All these uncharted territories amount to a lot of “grey” areas. And there will be times that we frustrate her and perhaps make unpopular or even wrong decisions. But as parents it is our job to protect her. And by protect, I don’t just mean her physical safety, though that is certainly included.
This past weekend, as some of the above mentioned topics were on the table, my husband explained to her the seriousness of our protection like this…
“Honey, when you get behind the wheel of a car it is serious business. If you are not fully alert, paying attention and obeying the laws then you are putting your life and those around you in danger.”
She nodded her head in agreement; no denying this is true. Then he went on to say,
“It is no different with dating. For somebody to take you out is for me to hand over to them the keys to your heart. Your heart in someone else’s hands is a very fragile thing, just as their heart in your hands is. We want to guard your heart for marriage, which is why dating requires the serious business of protection.”
She understood what he was saying. What encouraged me was the fact that she was not upset with him for laying down some rules, but instead the conversation ended in them laughing and joking around. I believe the reason for this positive response on her part is her beginning to see that this kind of protection is the most loving thing we can do for her. For she and our two sons are our most valuable treasures.
My prayer is that she will also really see and believe that God’s intent and best for her is way more than she can imagine. So as nice as it feels to have a boy talking to her, to have fun weekend plans, to experience some more independence, this is not ultimately where “life” is found. Only life wrapped up in Christ can provide true freedom and happiness.
This is the message that will ultimately drive our decisions as we seek to protect her- not just when she’s in a car, or with a boy, but from the message of the world. A world that screams out, “It’s all about the here and now” and “Do what makes you happy.” Allowing her to buy in to that mindset is failure to protect her for God’s best.
So for the 365 days of this year and the 365 days of the years to come may we have the strength, wisdom and grace to continue shepherding her as a Daughter of The King!
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