7 Aug 2022
Some years ago, I overheard a mother encouraging her young boy to pursue his dreams. “Do not let anyone stop you,” she said. “You must live your life and fulfil your dreams — marry the girl of your choice, have the career you desire, own a house you want — do not let laziness, meaningless distractions, other people’s ideals be your stumbling blocks,” she continued. And she went on and on for quite some time. “That’s an encouraging mother,” I thought to myself.
Recently, I overheard a conversation of two young adults while having a coffee break with my colleagues. One of them was lamenting on how the parents were putting their fingers into every decision he intended to make for his life – girl friends, career, car. His friend tried to mitigate by saying that the parents cared for him, and afraid that he might make the wrong choice. The reply was amusing: “I am already in my mid-thirties and I cannot make ‘good’ decisions? I have a degree and they do not, yet they think they know better.” The friend asked, “Then why didn’t you go ahead with your choices?” The young man answered: “I didn’t want to break their hearts even though I know my choice is correct. Guess I just have to live with regrets. I love my parents, but only hope that I will not turn bitter and hate them later for their interference. Already I had ‘wasted’ many years.” I wanted to listen more but everyone wanted to go back to work.
As a parent there are times that I think I know better. But I, like the first mother, had also encouraged my son to chase his dreams. Sure! I wanted him to go to certain educational institutes, do certain ‘likely to make money’ courses. But I kept these quietly in my heart, I made the deliberate choice to let him choose. He must like it or else he will not be happy. Of course, I advise him accordingly but fall short of interfering or blackmail him emotionally. Difficult, painful at times, but needed it to be so.
The bible exhorts us, the parents, not to provoke our children to anger. As long as they live their lives in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, that should be sufficient for us.
In Christ’s service,