Empty Nest Moms

TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’

Did your parents ever tell you stories about how they had to walk five miles through the knee-deep snow to get to school?  My dad used to tell me that when he was in trouble, his dad made him pull a limb off a willow tree to be used as a switch to spank his bare behind.  If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times, “If I’d talked disrespectfully to my mom the way you are talking to yours, my dad would have slapped me clear across the room.”

Though my dad’s tales of the past might have been a bit exaggerated, I knew times had changed since he’d grown from a child to a man.  I viewed the things my parents went through when they were children, the way they were brought up and the family dynamics they lived under to be the stone age.   When I became a young adult, their ways of dealing with life’s difficult situations often seemed to be old-fashioned to me.

When I was a child, we stayed out past dark, playing with neighbors who often lived several blocks from home. We walked a mile by ourselves just to hang out at the mall with our friends. We rode bikes without helmets,  and we’d never heard of stranger danger.  Our seat belt was mom’s arm extended across the seat to hold us in our place when a sudden stop occurred.

The world my children and grandchildren live in now appears to be vastly different than the simplistic world I once knew.  New technology has changed the way they communicate and live their lives.  In their eyes, our old methods of living and responding to the world around us are considered archaic (now we’re the stone age).

WE’RE JUST A BIT OUTDATED

Our natural human tendency is to resist change.  Therefore, when we see a problem with one of our children or grandchildren, we insist on solving it based on our outdated (for lack of a better word) mindsets.

For instance, when one of my grandbabies are running a fever accompanied by slimy green gunk running out of their nose, I might question my daughter as to why she won’t take the child to the doctor.  After all, it’s what I did when she was a baby.  However, she informs me that the doctor won’t do anything until the fever is over a certain degree point.  If I press the issue, I run the risk of frustrating her and making her feel like I’m questioning her ability to mother her children.

Forcing our opinions and ideas onto our adult children can open the door to resentment.  I remember when, as a baby, my son had constant ear infections.  My mom, as if she’d gone to medical school herself, would harp on me to make the doctor take out his tonsils.  She insisted that this would be the cure to his ear infections because when she was a mom to four babies, doctors, at the first sign of a problem, took the tonsils out.  However, things had changed, and doctors (nor insurance) wanted to remove tonsils unless necessary.  It would aggravate me when she’d demand that I do things her way.  Sadly, I’m sure I’ve made my daughter and son feel the same way.

By insisting our adult children follow our counsel, we may find that they’ll resist coming to us when there is a real problem.  Their peers will become their sounding board, and we risk building barriers instead of bridges.  We block the line of communication because when they choose to communicate, we can be overbearing and insistent with our advice.

times they are a changin', gone from the nest, empty nesters

A NEW GENERATION

I have come to realize that my best option is to allow my children the freedom to make judgments and decisions without my input unless they ask for it.  In other words, I’m learning to keep my mouth shut (oh, it’s so hard sometimes).  I’d rather have my children solving their problems without my opinions added into the mix than to ruin my relationship with them.  Nothing is more important than that relationship.

Mommas, we have to learn to walk and talk with this new generation.  After all, isn’t that what we desired from our parents.  We wanted them to see that times had changed, and so had we.

But what if they are making a huge mistake, you ask?  If they are not seeking your advice, pray that they’ll seek the wisdom of God, a mentor, a pastor or the wisdom of a wise peer.  They will make mistakes from time to time.  Most of us made mistakes as we traveled this road called adulthood.  But, hopefully, they’ll learn and grow from their mistakes just as we did.

WHEN THEIR WALK DOESN’T LOOK LIKE OURS

I know that there are times when our adult children are walking in direct disobedience to the Word and wisdom of God, or they’ve walked away from the Lord altogether.  However, even in this, we must allow them to make the decision to follow after God.  We cannot be their Holy Spirit.

When we see our children facing difficult situations and decisions or living below the standards of God, we face the temptation of ‘preaching’ to them.  I know that the Word of God is the One thing that never changes with time.  It remains constant and a solid foundation on which to give advice.  However, even knowing this, I can’t always offer the counsel of the Word to my child unless they come to me for it.  Otherwise, it’s most likely to fall on deaf ears and foster a breach between my child and me.

The Word assures us that our children are our inheritance (Psalm 127:3) and that we have the promise of salvation for our children (Acts 16:31).  We need to focus more on the promises of God and what He says about them and less on what we see with our natural eyes.

We may not see our children walking with the Lord, they may be living in utter chaos, but we can still trust God with all of our heart for them.  Even when our children choose not to listen to us, we have One, Jesus Christ, who is always listening.

I believe in the power of a praying momma!  I’ve seen how my prayers for my children have reached farther and affected their lives on a deeper level than any advice I could possibly offer.  Therefore, mommas, don’t get your feelings hurt when they don’t want your advice.  Don’t get angry when you see them running to the world instead of calling you.  Pray!  Pray that God will direct their steps and protect their hearts and lives.  And, His promise to you is that He will!

Times may be a changin’…but He never changes and He holds your child in the palm of His hand!

Connect with Cindy at Sftjm7@yahoo.com

Cindy Schroppel is an author, blogger and speaker.

For more information about Cindy Schroppel or to order Skandalon visit Sftjm.com

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