adult son leaving homeThis just happened too fast. Yesterday I was changing diapers and today I am buying sheets (extra long) for a dorm bed. My last child leaves in four weeks for college and the dreaded “empty nest” is right around the corner.

While I really don’t know where the time has gone, I do know I am so very grateful for the time I have had with my children at home. Sure, I wish I had done some things differently, made a few better choices, and spent more time with each of my children. I should have listened more and lectured less, and all the rest of the things on my regrets list. But truth be told, we haven’t done too bad. My children are able to think critically, act independently and take responsibility. They make good choices and are both helpful and useful to those around them. They love and respect their mom and even check in with their old dad on a regular basis!

I would like to take credit for this, but know I cannot. The truth is my wife and I chose, even before our first was born, to raise our children according to God’s direction and to share raising them with like-minded friends. We have prayed for them every day, deferred our “rights” to those God believes is right and sought the counsel, and support, of parents who went before us and raised great kids. We see parenting as both a right and a privilege and have worked at it every day. We are not “holy rollers” or “religious extremist” but we have taken to heart the Lord’s direction regarding love, respect, justice, grace, forgiveness, service, truth, work and a host of other life skills He teaches in His book, the Bible. Old fashioned? I don’t think so. Structured, balanced, honest, caring, trustful, fun and responsible–you bet! Proverbs 15:33 tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and that humility comes before honor. It’s a verse we have tried to live by.

Advice, I guess I have a little, but most of all I would say to just love people like Jesus did. Take the time to learn His leadership model and concepts and then just apply them to your life. The model is not complex, it goes like this: Spend the time to develop real relationships, share real world life skills, talk about ideas and concepts, hold those you love accountable for living what they have learned, pray (a lot), and finally, find situations for your kids to practice what they are learning.

Too often we talk about issues, concepts and ideas without a practical means of letting our kids try them out. Put them in the position to use their knowledge then spend your time catching them doing things right! Praise often, correct when needed, and continuously remind them of their incredible value and worth. Be a parent—every day.

I am not looking forward to the drive home after dropping my son off this fall. My heart is sad just thinking about it. I know he is excited, I know he is able, and I know he is ready. He, like his sister, will make a difference with his life. I say this with confidence because of the knowledge of his relationship with Christ. He knows the truth and he knows how to live truth. However, I will miss having him around. I have come to value his opinion and to enjoy his sense of humor and cutting the grass is going to take a whole lot longer. I remember the same sense of loss dropping my daughter off three years ago. But, it’s not about me…it never was. It is their time to grow and shine, and my time to cheer them on!

The issue is really all about maturity. Growing our children (and ourselves) is the goal and there is a plan that works! If you would like to learn more about parenting according to Jesus Christ’s model of leadership (we call it RCAPS: Relationship, Content, Accountability, Prayer, and Situations or Structures) click here.

I welcome your comments about releasing your children. Please comment below and share your experience, challenges and advice.

 

Originally Posted on JULY 16, 2012.  This was so good we thought it would be good to read again!

10 thoughts on “It’s time to go-He’s leaving home

  1. I feel your pain, and your pride, David! We sent our ‘baby girl’ off the college 3 years ago, and it still hurts. But it also makes my heart swell every time she comes home and shares her adult world and dreams. Having adult children is a new season, but a wonderful one! (And don’t get me started on the joys of grandchildren…)

    Thanks for the practical tips, too. There’s a new generation that’s starting to take notes from those of us who have walked down that road. May God grant them wisdom!

    • David Parfitt
      David Parfitt says:

      Having a “community” makes all the difference. Lots of help from so many friends!

      Thanks for the encouragement

  2. Allen Stevens says:

    You know why it’s tough seeing him go, because you and Vicki have done it right, you have raised him the right way, you have taught him how to live life by your example. Its worked and when something works you want to continue with it. I know what kind of example that’s been. You lived it out to my kids also. I realize You want just one more season, one more hunting trip, one more soccer game, all the guys over at the house laughing and enjoying each other, but he’s ready. He’s ready to go out and practice the things he has learned from you. You just watch and see what God does with his life.

    • David Parfitt
      David Parfitt says:

      Its been such a joy to live this out together. Thanks for your kind words and for speaking into my children’s lives as well!

    • David Parfitt
      David Parfitt says:

      A great word Randy. It is such a comfort to know that many of us are seated at the same table. Together we have raised them and together we shall release them.

      God’s love is always enough

  3. Wayne Jackson says:

    We are there as well. Our oldest is finally leaving home and then on Aug 11 getting married. We mirror the cooperative effort of many like minded believers in many places to set his path straight. And as Bob mentioned, I too look forward to welcoming him home with my new daughter and hearing of how they are growing, going, and sharing in Christ. (UT, class of 84)

  4. Nancy Higgins says:

    They leave, yes! But they DO come back…and they bring more people with them!

    The best is yet to come.

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