I’ve come to the conclusion that every child, whether they admit it or not must be afraid of the dark. I can’t tell you how many times my kids would call me into their rooms and ask me to leave a night-light, or keep the door open so that the monsters in their closets wouldn’t come out.
As adults, most of us master the fear from the uncertainty we feel in the dark. But the uncertainty is still there, because when you cannot see there is a lack of control. You can’t protect yourself from tripping and falling if you can’t see where you are going. You have to feel your way around.
As I have parented, I have often been anxious about what I can’t see in my child’s future. There are so many things I can’t control. Will they fall in with the wrong crowd? Will they hit a wall in school? Will they stumble in their beliefs? Will they get stuck in a harmful relationship?
There is a new darkness that they need to be protected from—and that is the darkness of an uncertain future. I often worry, how will I protect them if I can’t see what is coming? I don’t have control.
I don’t have control because it was never intended that I control my child. God is in control. My job, as a parent, is to contribute. We can’t CONTROL our child’s future, but we can CONTRIBUTE to our child’s future.
My job is to stand beside my child and contribute as much light as I can to the path in front of them. And part of lighting their path means directing them in the way they should go.
There is a difference between controlling and contributing to your child’s future. So here are 3 ways to contribute light to your child’s future:
Be sure to seek out older family members, friends, coaches, or youth leaders who will give your child wise counsel and be a voice of reason that echoes your own.
Be on the lookout for classes of interest, different teams, volunteer groups, and even internships that your child can become a part of and learn from.
Lasting joy is not determined by grades and accolades. Guide your child in meaningful relationships with God, family and friends. Learning to love well is the key to past, present, and future joy.
Lastly, remember there may come a time when your child rejects the light you can give. If so, depending on the age of the child and the situation, sometimes a parent must step back and let the child feel their way around, in the dark.