Adam: I grew up watching the Cosby Show. One recurring theme was that mom and dad wanted you to move out as soon as possible so that they could move on with their lives. Dad celebrated when a child went off to college and lamented when they came home. While they were always welcomed home (begrudgingly) the goal of the Cosby’s parenting was clear: Become an adult.
Looking around– I don’t know if most parents today have similar goals. As I’ve said many times I think a lot of parents express co-dependency on their adult-aged children. It’s beyond living vicariously through them, it’s coddling them towards what Robert Epstein labels “infantalization.” They like their children dependent on them and they are willing to do whatever it takes to make that last as long as possible… complaining about it all the while.
As I read chapter 7 about building a Sticky Faith bridge out of the house and into adulthood I got out of this that we need to have a plan. While I think Kara and Chap emphasized a plan for the senior year of high school and first year of college I know that the plan should include today, when my kids are 10, 8, and 9 months! Why? Because that goal for my parenting has implications in how we do stuff today.
For me, the goal can’t be safety. If there is one thing that irks me more than anything else about Christian parents it is the idea of safety. It’s as if the measurement of a faith-filled life is how safe it is. What a crock! Following Jesus is anything but safe. Therefore the goal of my parenting can not include safety. Sure, I want my children to grow up making wise choices. But I don’t want their default to be faithless, safe choices as well. My goal for my children is that they will recklessly encounter and follow Jesus wherever he wants them to go.
Kristen: Megan, our oldest child, is ten years old. We have some time to before she graduates from high school and transitions into college. Still, this chapter provided many good thoughts to consider. My first thought while reading this chapter was to remember from my own college experience that finding and connecting to a church is difficult, even in a Christian college setting. I eventually found a church that I loved. It would later become the church where, as a young married couple, Adam and I served in the high school ministry together and where we formed adult friendships that last to this day.
As a college freshman with no transportation, I would not have been connected if it weren’t for the clunky church bus that provided a free ride every Sunday. Looking back, I’m extremely thankful for a church that loved college students enough to provide resources to connect us to their congregation. Another reason the church relationship stuck is that the church allowed me to serve as a Sunday school teacher. This was a fairly large church that didn’t “need” me. I never felt looked down on as a young college student, nor did I ever feel like I was being used.
Another point that struck me was the advice, “Don’t do for your child, what they can do for themselves”. I don’t consider myself a helicopter parent, however, there are things that I do for my kids (because it’s easier/faster/done right, etc) that are a disservice to them in the long run.
Lastly, I appreciated the section called, “Prepare for Loss” on page 162. I’ve seen too many college graduates (let alone freshman students) struggling with these losses.
1. How are you feeling about the reality that your child is graduating? What are you most grateful to God for? What causes you fear or misgivings?
2. What does it look like to trust God with your son or daughter as he or she is graduating?
3. Do you think your child really knows that you love them unconditionally? How could you handle their next failure or success in such a way that you shower them with unconditional love?
4. What family and group or church events would you like to try with your child? When is the best time to try them? Who else could you partner with (other parents, mentors, small group leader, youth leader) to help prepare your child for the transition?