I was looking for a specific book on our bookshelves the other day when I had a tiny panic attack – a moment of realization that hit me like a ton of bricks. There are so many great books on the shelf that my 12-year old hasn’t read yet! She’s almost 13 – what if she never finds time to read The Trumpet of the Swan, or Nory Ryan’s Song, or The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle?
I LOVE books, and I desperately want Claire to read every.single.good.book in our house! As I scanned the shelves and shelves of books that still need to be read, I started to feel like a failure. How could I let her grow up without reading every book on the Newbery list??
Obviously, this is completely ridiculous. Claire doesn’t have enough time or interest to read all the good books – there are simply too many of them. I think as parents, though, we often feel the same desperate, panicked feeling about teaching our kids everything they need to know about faith and God and life before they leave our homes. Have we taught them enough about temptation, about prayer, about relationships, about responsibility? Did we make them memorize enough verses or do enough family devotions?
As my kids have started to grow up and spread their wings, I’ve begun to accept the fact that I can’t teach my kids everything. I can do my very best to prepare them for the things that life will throw at them, but I also know that there are some lessons that only the Holy Spirit can teach them.
Thankfully, we serve a God who asks us to teach our kids about his commands and heart for them, but he doesn’t expect us to be perfect. He is more than able to fill in the gaps and teach our kids the lessons that we can’t.
Looking again at our family’s bookshelf, I realize that many of the books that I love so much, I didn’t read until I was an adult. Thank goodness it’s never too late to discover a good book, and it’s never too late for our kids to learn from their heavenly Father, who loves them and knows them intimately.
My prayer for my kids these days is that the Holy Spirit will speak loudly and insistently in their lives. If their spirits are listening and submitting to His, then they’ll learn all the lessons they need to. This knowledge and realization relieves me of the pressure of perfect parenting and allows me to truly partner with the only one who has a perfect plan for my kids’ lives.