As my kids are getting older I start to think about what they are going to do "when they grow up." I wonder what direction they will go in. I have one extreme introvert and one extreme extrovert, opposite ends of the scale. It's interesting to watch them grow and see what behaviors they grow out of and what they grow into! We have always talked about "being the people God has called us to be." What is that going to mean for them? Who are they called to be?
I have a good friend, in their mid/late thirties, (for clarity's sake, we'll call them the gender neutral Pat) and just recently Pat's parents told them they thought Pat had chosen the wrong career path and outlined all the mistakes Pat was making. I was dumbfounded. I know that you can go too far down the road of preserving someone's self esteem, but for goodness sakes, don't go too far in the other direction! Why not point out what Pat does in life that is good? Why not make helpful suggestions so Pat can learn and grow? What is served by only trashing Pat's path?
Pat's situation reminded me that we have a chance to guide our children, but a time comes when we have to let them make their own choices. Sometimes we will not agree with those choices, but once they are adults, we have to find a way to support them. (of course as long as their choices are not illegal or destructive or harmful to themselves or others). I want my children to know that when I say I will love them no matter what, it doesn't mean I will love them only if they are making the choices I want them to make. I want them to choose a path that will be satisfying to them. I want them to like and be proud of what they do.
Frequently in our family, if we are arguing, we take a moment to remind each other that we are on the same team. It's a funny analogy because we aren't an exceptionally athletic family. BUT, we have to remember that we love each other and support each other because we are a family. It doesn't end when they grow up. They will grow up and they will grow away, but we will always be a family and we will always be a team!