If you joined me last week, you know one of the quickest ways to ruin your child is to expect them to be just like you. I spent many years wanting my son to approach the world in the linear, systematic way that I did. Of course, my way was right! I was the parent, so it must’ve just been a maturity issue. If I just tried hard enough, I would make him just like me.
I’m so thankful I saw the error of my ways when I did and was able to step back and give Mark room to develop into who God wired him to be. Of course, there were guardrails and direction, but I let go of the notion that my way was the only way for him to be successful.
For some of you, this is a foreign concept and you might think I’m crazy. For others, your danger is actually the opposite. Have you ever seen something in your child that was a reflection of your own weakness? Has it set an alarm off in your head, fearing your child would end up with your same struggles? Maybe your child is battling doubt, insecurity, or loneliness the first few weeks of school. If you’ve struggled with this, it can touch a deep place of fear in a parent.
If this is you, can I both warn you and encourage you? The warning: One of the quickest ways to ruin your child is to project your path upon them. A few words from them that resonate with your own fears can lead us down a path of mental gymnastics that isn’t healthy for either of you.
So, what can you do? (Here’s the encouragement part…)
Biblically, there are patterns of generational sins but there are also patterns of generational faithfulness. Ask God to break anything generational that would hinder your child.
If you recognize a fear you have for your child that stems from your own wounds, it’s time to make sure you’ve dealt with your own issue. There’s nothing that would empower your child more than to see his or her parent conquer her own struggle. Don’t do it alone. Get someone to help you. Check out How People Grow by Henry Cloud and John Townsend for a great starting point.
Children smell doubt a mile away. They also smell confidence. If you know Christ, you have the advantage. Don’t give the enemy one more ounce of you or your family. Communicate confidence and victory to your child because their future is their own, not yours. If your child senses you think they’ll succumb to your struggle, you’re setting them up to follow your lead. Set them up to chart a new course.