“From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.” These were comments from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as he spoke at his son’s middle-school graduation expressing hope that they would experience things many parents like to protect their kids from experiencing.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28. Trust is the foundation for this passage. Often it seems fear drowns out trust and in fear the tendency is to try to control environments the kids are exposed to and even the outcomes of some basic life experiences. Good intentions can impede God’s plan to shape a young life for what is ahead. “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15). Trust in the Heavenly Father because He loves our kids even more than we do.
Chief Justice John Roberts provided a powerful message for middle-schoolers and adults alike. Certainly, protecting kids is a key role parents play. Over-protecting them, having a “nobody loses” mentality can inhibit a child’s ability to respond to negative experiences later in life in a healthy way. We cannot control all the experiences life gives us but we always have a choice of how to respond to those experiences. A dad’s role is knowing when to back off protecting for the sake of preparing sons and daughters for life.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for the opportunity to be a dad. The responsibility as Your representative in the home can be overwhelming. In my strength, I can be over-protective, over-critical and over-bearing, all which reflect a lack of trust in You. Forgive me. You have blessed me with kids, Your most prized possessions in this world, and given me a wonderful wife to raise them with. You are preparing them for a life we can only begin to imagine. Our responsibility is to be in relationship with You, live a selfless, sacrificial relationship in our home and pass that love on to the next generation. Help us trust in You and move forward in Your strength to raise a Godly generation in this noisy world. Amen.
A faithful father knows the difference between protecting and preparing.