Kites fly best when you let out the string slowly. Making sure you have lots of space and patience, it may pull and take a few dips, but the more you do it, the more skilled you become.  Once in a while they crash, and you have to pick up and begin again. Eventually, though, your kite can really soar as you coax it higher and gradually unwind the spool. Is parenting much different?

There are those days when your kids are spot-on and you just sit back in awe, amazed that you have parented such a wonder. They make you proud with their behavioral choices, good grades, or stellar performance on the playing field, court, or even the concert auditorium.

And then. . .there are those moments of sheer disbelief, when your 6 foot tall teenager suddenly reminds you  what he was like in the 3rd grade. Have we not been over the “no dodge ball in the house” rule before?

The whole process can be baffling at times.

You get through those early years, sleep deprived, miraculously keeping them alive so they can be enrolled in school.

The golden years ensue, with generally less trouble as your children gain independence and begin to socialize with their peers. You can do no wrong, and settle into a temporary state of bliss.

Then. There’s. Middle. School.  With its alternate moments of tearful hugging and eye-rolling, you can do no right most of the time.

But high schoolers are nearly adults, and what’s this? The same child who can work through complicated calculus problems will also want to watch animated Disney movie classics on DVD.

I often find myself glancing at my husband with a puzzled shrug. Working through the transitions from childhood to young adulthood have resulted in a change in our hair color, but hopefully some wisdom has emerged, too. What we do know is this:  our kids need us more than ever as they step sometimes gingerly, and sometimes with a leap, into many things “grown up.” They need to rely on the foundation of values we’ve helped build into their lives. In addition to our stability, they need our patience as they sometimes falter in stepping through the transition. Finally, they need our prayers now more than ever. God is still the generous giver of all good things, and he hears our hearts as we lift up our kids to Him.

And then watch as they begin to soar.

My prayer?

Show me Lord, I’m watching. Speak to me Lord, I’ll listen. Lead me Lord, I’ll follow.

Photo: Flickr

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