Because We Never Stop Being Moms -Book Club- Chapter Three

Chapter Three, You Say Good-Bye But He Says Hello, brings to our attention the generation of twixters, those in our age who are trapped between adolescence and adulthood.* Jim Newheiser quotes an article from Desiring God, and writes that this “Peter-Pan” phase is “characterized by identity exploration, instability, focus on self, feeling in limbo, and a sense of limitless possibilities. These characteristics accompanied by transience, confusion, anxiety, obsession with self, melodrama, conflict, and disappointment.” Sadly, this phenomenon is not only happening outside the church; it happens among us too. And it happens because parents allow it to.

This is a good place to stop and consider, especially if we still have teenagers or young adults at home (or college), these questions that I formulated after reading this chapter:

1. Am I always trying to come in between the actions of my children, their choices, and the consequences of these?

2. If I see that my son or daughter is instable, selfish, always confused, filled with anxiety, notable obsessed with self, egocentric, non-reasonable, do I always find myself excusing his/her behavior in one or another way? Do I always find myself giving explanations to cover up her sinful behavior?

3. Does my son or daughter who is still depending from us -the author mentions good reasons for this- have a plan that include a time table and good reasons for this? Do I find myself promoting this economical dependence in order to have always the “right to say so-and-so”?

4. How am I doing to practically teach my daughter or son the dangers of self-gratification?

5. If you are a mom of younger ones (teenagers), do you find yourself constantly contacting your child’s teachers to ask for extensions, for “one more opportunity,” or to try to explain the teacher that “she is a great student” even though the facts are shouting the contrary?

6. What practical steps are you taking to teach your son that we can’t enjoy the fruits of prosperity without having to sacrifice and work hard?

“This self-centered narcissism is at the heart of what drives this lost generation.”

7. When our children complain about hard work, do we teach them what the Bible says about perseverance or are we are prompt to encourage them to look for another job, something more fun and that would bring them pleasure, and help them to their “self-realization”?

“A Christian perspective on labor…must include a profound joy that originates in understanding that our work is for the Lord, who labored and languished on the cross for us. We work out of deep gratitude, whether our job is boring, strenuous, or dull.”

8. Am I encouraging my children to be financial and emotional independent to build their own families or to pursue their own selfish pleasures?

“Dr. Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, warns that ‘the delay of marriage will exact an undeniable social toll in terms of delayed parenthood, even smaller families, and even more self-centered parents.”

9. Am I ready to let my children grow? If not, this is the time to seek the Lord and pray earnestly that He will give us the confidence that He has a plan for our children. Trying to hold them back (emotionally or financially) will not only affect us and our children, but also the church.

“Even though it doesn’t feel like it, and even though our hearts want to help and continue to parent our adult children, sometimes the most loving thing you can do is to say good-bye.”

The section at the end of the chapter “Let’s Talk More about It” has very good questions also. I encourage you to go through them.

Remember that I am just like you, learning how to be a good mom in this new stage of life, and so far, I can say that there is one thing I am absolutely sure is essential in parenting our adult children: prayer.

And, Sisters, it cannot get more practical than this. Prayer is where we start and where we end. “Always prayer before action,” as one of my dear friends reminded me lately.

 

 

Thank you for all your comments, they are rich, thoughtful, and are definitely making the reading of this book a more profitable endeavor. Thank you so much.

Next week: Chapter Four: Saying Hello to Pleasing God
Optional “Homework”: Read the articles and listen to the sermons under More Resources (there are six links, maybe one per day?).

Becky

* Twixters as defined by Wikipedia

More Resources:

A Church-Based Hope for “Adultolescents.”

Sermon: Get a Holy Ambition and Skip Adultolsecence.

An excellent article by Douglas Wilson: A Childish Life.

“We have entered the era where every self manufactures his or her own ethical system and hangs it from his or her very own hook in the sky. One might say the closets of our generation have a whole lot of “self space.”” D. Wilson

Sermon by Al Mohler: The Generation that Won’t Grow Up.

“Adulthood is meant for adult responsibilities, and for the vast majority of young people that will mean marriage and parenthood.” Al Mohler here: The Delay of Marriage and the Decline of Church Atendance.

 

“How do you live as a mature Christian in a culture that celebrates adolescence? How do you maintain the gravity of the Gospel in an era when the most immature person in any given room is likely to be the most celebrated?” Al Mohler (Oh, Grow up!)

Another excellent article by Matt Walsh: Adolescence: A Modern Plague, but there is a Cure.

“So, yes, adolescence can last until 25. It can last until 55. It can follow you right into your casket. We created it, and we can abolish it. And we can do that simply by expecting more out of people.”

5 thoughts on “Because We Never Stop Being Moms -Book Club- Chapter Three

  1. Angel,

    WOW! You got me thinking, lady. I honestly don't have an answer to your questions. We have not dealt with this particular issue.But I think it is absolutely important to teach them how important it is to ask for help. The greatest lesson I've learned when I've has to ask for help is humility. That we are not self-sufficient (only God is!) is a reminder that we need each other not only to eat together, to talk, to laugh, to pray, but also to help us in many practical ways.

    My husband and I have agreed to help our children, to give them -so to say- their “inheritance now; now that they are starting to build their life. Maybe this idea would help your children understand how your help is not out of place, but much *in* place.

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments, ladies!

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  2. Amy, I agree with you. In this area as in many others we are parenting against the ethics of the culture we live in.

    Jennifer, Yes! The more we can do to foster our relationship with our children the better! We must be wise as to know how to build bridges that actually work and connect us with them .

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  3. This chapter was full of compelling thoughts for reflection and examination about how we are responding to our children in this stage of their young adulthood. Becky, I found your questions helpful. I especially appreciated the question about how we discuss work options with our kids. Are we falling into the trap of encouraging self-actualization over self-sacrifice? Are we subconsciously conveying the message that some types of work are more worthy of honor than others? It's convicting to consider. I had already marked up the margins of page 51 quite a bit during my reading, and your questions sent me back to that page.

    I really appreciated the authors realistic handling of “job satisfaction”. Faithfulness in doing the work God places before us is so much more important than deciding to serve only after we find the work that we think suits us best. The author also pinpointed the problem with thinking that there are too many overwhelming choices. I suppose that we do have a greater awareness of broader options because of all the information at our fingertips and the ease of mobility. Yet, the idea that we have unlimited options is false. There are still given parameters that limit choices. We can help their children see that things like intellectual ability, time constraints, financial limits, physical strength, levels of determination, family circumstances, etc. are all things that automatically set some limits. And these limits are gifts, not hinderances, for by them, God can help to direct our paths. This is so contrary to the “If you dream it you can become it” mantra that can cripple the decision making of young people.

    I'm wondering if any of you have had to deal with a problem that is opposite to the thoughts in this chapter. Has anyone had children (sons especially) who try to put too much responsibility on themselves a little too soon? Nearly every one of our sons has, to one degree or another, tried to needlessly carry heavy burdens alone without asking for help…even when the help would have been within acceptable range as set forth by this author on pages 48 and 49. We completely respect them for wanting to be responsible men and thank God for their hearts, but how can we tell when it is unwise pride on their parts…or get them to see that? How, when we are consciously trying to teach them to be responsible, can we help them to know when it is okay to ask for help? That it is okay to lean on loving parents while they are in the phase of gaining strength for the next season? And how can we do this without dishonoring their efforts? Any thoughts?

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  4. Like Amy, I was blessed by this chapter. Eye-opening and convicting. Also, like Amy, we are finding that sense of entitlement to be a constant battle – even though we have desired to be diligent parents through the years and instill a work ethic. All our children have chores & responsibilities at home, and very little money that they don't earn by working.

    And yet, we do feel we are continually at war with our culture – so entertainment and tech-driven, where everything “new” is good and the old paths are despised. We definitely feel like we are swimming upstream must keep our guard up!

    Family times – whether Bible time or read-alouds after dinner or just hanging out – have become very precious and are, Lord-willing, providing opportunities for us to foster relationship with our young people and help them stay centered.

    I look forward to reading the articles you posted. Thanks again for hosting this helpful discussion, Becky! ❤

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  5. Hi Becky- I really enjoyed this chapter. This is something we have struggled with a great deal – trying to eradicate the “entitlement mentality.” Even when we as parents are strong in encouraging responsibility and hard work, the culture sways our children so hard in the other direction that it is a constant battle.

    Thanks for the additional resources – I look forward to reading them.

    Blessings,

    Amy

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