Tough Questions Kids Ask
July/August 2006: Coping with Disappointment
How do you cope when your children disappoint you?
The mother who volunteers time to coach basketball discovers her son is the least talented player on the team. The artistically-gifted father is disappointed when his daughter gives up painting lessons after a few months. The parents of 20-somethings grieve when their children no longer attend church. At some point, all children disappoint their parents in some capacity. We only need to look at our own lives and the numerous times we failed our parents to find further examples.
Fortunately, the Bible offers consoling words for these disheartening situations. Each child is unique, created by God and "wonderfully made," as Psalm 139:14 reminds us. Furthermore, "we have different gifts, according to the grace given us." (Romans 12:6) God has a specific plan and purpose for each of us, including our children. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'" (Jeremiah 29:11). Our hopes and expectations for our sons and daughters, though admirable, are not necessarily what God has in mind. Imposing our will on our children might even prevent their God-given abilities from developing and flourishing.
More importantly, as Carla Barnhill questions in "Just Your Average Kid" which appeared in the March/April 2002 issue of Christian Parenting Today, "Does [a child] really have to be academically or artistically above average to make a difference in the world?" The article guards against evaluating a child's worth as a person by worldly standards, reminding parents that ultimately, we want our children to become good citizens, accepting the values and faith we strive to impart. By giving our children our unconditional love, we help them achieve this goal. In spiritual matters, we do need to steer children in the right direction, especially when young. When older, though, we also need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives, as Karen Morerod notes in "Whose Child is That?" which was published in the Fall 2005 issue of Christian Parenting Today. She remarks, "A gentle, firm tug from God's Spirit can do much more than a nagging parent."
Ecclesiastes 3:11 reminds us that "He has made everything beautiful in its time." By trusting in God's plan, praying for our children, and providing them with a loving and supportive environment, we can help them shine when and how God intended.
Copyright © 2006-2013 by Jennifer Kirsch. All Rights Reserved.