An Open Hand

A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.
Genesis 2:24

When I (JCD) was seventeen years old, my parents went on a two-week trip and left me behind. They loaned me the family car and gave me permission to invite my (male) friends to spend the fourteen nights at our home. I remember being surprised by this move and the obvious risks my parents were taking. I could have thrown fourteen wild parties, wrecked the car, and destroyed our residence (though I didn’t).

Years later, I asked my mother why she risked leaving me unsupervised those two weeks. She smiled and replied, “Because I knew that in about one year you would have complete freedom with no one to tell you how to behave. I wanted to expose you to that freedom while you were still under my influence.”

My mother understood that one day soon I would be following the path laid out in Scripture: “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife” (Genesis 2:24). She was preparing me for independence and for one day accepting the responsibility that would accompany marriage. For moms and dads with teenagers who are close to leaving the nest, the most effective parenting approach is to hold on with an open hand.

Before you say good night…

  • Are you holding on to your kids with an open hand?
  • Do your kids feel that you trust them? Should they? Should you?

Father, truly You hold us with an open hand. You allow us to choose, but You are always there to warn, to guide, to counsel, to encourage. And when we fall, You are quick to pick us up and set us back on the path. Show us how to parent as we have been parented by You. Amen.

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.