Last week, Stephen graduated from Lakeside School on a beautiful sunny day. The night before he and his friend Tony were the finale act at Baccalaureate–an amazing performance I must say as a biased parent. After graduation, we had a party at our house with some best friends coming over to congratulate Stephen and meet the grandparents. All of it filled me with awe.
This week I have wondered whether or not that is a good thing–to continue to look to one’s children for “inspiration.” I have been blessed to live around sources of great inspiration all my adult life–from the college Boston years, to Hong Kong, to the church here in Seattle. The child-raising years have been equally inspiring: little kids are full of charm and make you feel warm inside at the end of the day. It’s magical. And older teens bring you to the brink of thrilling vicarious living (a cliche I thought I could avoid) as you witness their sports competitions, their acts on stage, their academic achievements, etc.
But is it likely that they will, by dint of their college exploits, or by the first job they hold, or by whatever convictions they evolve, continue to fill you, the parent, with “inspiration”? I think this puts terrible and unwarranted pressure on them, and paints us, the parents, into a corner of limited meaning. The kids’ lives are tempting, but I think we have to look first back to the life of God, and to His thoughts, His ways, His deeds, His plans for inspiration. We have our own individual journeys to complete with Him, and He promises that the journey will be inspiring indeed.
In a good way, let’s leave the kids out of it.