Day 4: Trust God With The Future - Parenting with God’s Peace
Day 4: Trust God with the Future
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34, NIV)
I hear parents do it every day in my office:
“I don’t think I’m preparing my child well for the future.”
“I haven’t had him in travel sports, and now he’ll never be able to keep up at a high school level.”
“She didn’t start cheerleading at four, and now we’ve lost our chance for her to ever make a competitive team.”
The worries can be over what we believe we haven’t offered them. The things we feel “all the other parents” have been doing that we haven’t been able to get done. We’re not keeping up, which means our children won’t be able to keep up—or measure up—in all the ways that will lead to their success, our anxiety tells us. But it’s simply not true.
“Because he can’t sit still in kindergarten means he’ll never make it in grade school, and there’s no way he’ll be able to hold a job when he’s older.”
“If he’s not responsible enough to remember to take out the trash at thirteen, why would I ever believe he’d be responsible enough to drive a car?”
“She thinks about herself all the time as a middle schooler. I’m not sure how she’ll ever be able to have a healthy, caring relationship with another person.”
The list goes on and on. In our worry, we become fortune-tellers for our kids. We decide what’s happening now will be happening five, ten, even twenty years from now.
Kids are developing people. Our job is to eventually raise healthy, well-functioning adults. Eventually is the key word. They are not those adults yet. In terms of brain development, the last portions of our brains to develop are the frontal lobes, which house the executive functioning part of our brains. The frontal lobes help develop our working memories, dictate impulse control, help us think logically, manage our emotions, and plan for the future. In the last twenty years, neuroimaging research has taught us those frontal lobes may not be fully developed until approximately age twenty-five. Your eight-year-old isn’t capable of managing her emotions in the same way she will be at eighteen. Your twelve-year-old doesn’t yet have the skills to carry the same responsibilities he will be able to at twenty. It’s a normal and even an important stopover on the journey of development and individuation for all kids. He will get there. And so will she.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the kids we love, our worries take over and cause our shortsightedness to become long reaching. We decide, based on their own developmental immaturity, that something is wrong. Rather than seeing the gap as a normal part of their development, we believe it’s a character flaw. And worse still, one that will mark their lives, both personally and professionally, forever.
What’s a future, problematic meaning you’ve attached to an area in which your child is still growing? Your child is growing into who God has created him or her to be. Trust the process. Trust your child. And trust that there is Someone in charge who is a much better predictor of the future than you or I.
Reflect: What is one way you’ve been fortune-telling about your child’s life? What is one positive, truthful thought you can think when you are worried about your child’s future?