I’m in the middle of a developmental stage. Some of you would never think that at 55+ I’d be navigating through a developmental stage. This is a term used for babies and kids in Pre-K through 8th grade, isn’t it?

No, the truth is all of us navigate through a variety of stages throughout our lifetimes. My current one falls under the heading, “Role of Parent Quickly Changes as Son Launches.” You see, my older son recently graduated from LSU and he moved on to pursue his career and fulfill a life-long dream. On one hand, as a parent I am thrilled to see the light at the end of the financial, money pit tunnel. Yet, on the other hand and with equal passion, I feel a sense of grief because of the changes in our close-knit family unit. On another hand, (hey wait … that’s three hands) I struggle with a tiny amount of dread; realizing the truth of the Murphy-ism, “No kid leaves home done.”

If you are a parent, you know what I’m talking about. If you are not a parent, you’ll know in about 18 to 20 years. As your son or daughter launches from your family, you will notice some values and qualities that you thought were present, but they aren’t there. You’ll also notice a few things you hoped would never reside in your son or daughter; yet there they are as big as life. It is a hard reality to navigate through.

Thank God our self-esteem as parents isn’t dependent on our children’s performance. If your’s is, you’re in deep trouble. Our sons and daughters don’t leave home complete. You know how I know? I know because I’m 55+ and I’m not finished growing either. How could I possibly expect a 20, 21, 22+ year old be mature when I, as an old person, am not anywhere close to being as mature as Christ would have me be.

So, what are we to do? Here are a couple of things to consider: (1) Be ready for a continual stream of developmental stages throughout your lifetime. (2) Don’t expect your son or daughter to be totally mature when they launch from your home. (3) For sure don’t link your parental self-esteem to the successes of failures of your children. (4) Trust that as your son or daughter launches, God will send a perpetual stream of people who will carry on in your place. They will be God’s instruments in helping your young adult continue to grow, change, mature, and ultimately win (in the sense that they will be who God originally intended them to be.)

So, don’t let the developmental stage you are in freak you out. Just hang in there and look for what God is trying to accomplish in you. He will show you at the proper time.

Blessings to you …

Muchly, Murphy

(reprinted from July – 2008)