Don Whitney recently tweeted about this Norman Rockwell painting: “I remember being the one on the right.  Now I’m on the left.”  I affirm his statement.

I remember when I left for Southern Mississippi 33 years ago (33?!).  I was excited… hopeful… full of “conquer the world” thoughts.  I didn’t get it when I saw my mom cry and my dad choke back the tears.  I thought they were just being silly.

God willing, my daughter will be getting married March 31, 2012… she and her future husband just bought a starter home.  My oldest son is following God’s call and attending school in Louisville, KY.  And my youngest child has now left home to attend U.A.B.  I can understand something of the man on the left and his worn look.  All three of my kids have the youthful hope and expectations about the future like the boy on the right.

I had a lady tell me when my kids were toddlers: “When they’re young they step on your toes… when their grown they step on your heart.”  I’m not sure I agree with her completely, but I do understand that things change.

Here is every parent’s goal: To transition their kid’s dependence from them to God.  The goal is NOT to make them independent, but to depend on God.  THAT is successful parenting!  If/when a parent can do that successfully, worry is banished… fear leaves… anxiety is alleviated.  Parents won’t know how well they did raising their kids UNTIL their children have raised THEIR kids!

From my perspective, parents take too much blame… and too much credit… for how their kids turn out.  The nature/nurture debate may never be settled for some people… for me it is.  A child’s personality and disposition is the result of both with a certain leaning to 1 Corinthians 15:10

By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

Kids are hard-wired from birth by God on many levels.  At the same time their experiences mold and shape them under God’s providential hand.  When everything is said and done, all parents can do is their best to “raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  Pray… and then leave them in God’s sovereign hand.

Parents… live in Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for NOTHING.  But in EVERYTHING… by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God… which surpasses ALL comprehension… will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”