I think I was terrifically hard on my kids at times. But at least I was clear: it was myself I was afraid of. Was I a good parent? Good enough parent? Was I too strict? Was I too lax? Did I give them enough room to grow? Did I give them too much room? And how would my children suffer for the things I did not get right?
Fortunately I did not have to "get it perfect" because I was only middle management. I was daily grateful that no error or omission on my part was so awful that God could not heal it, complete it, expound a fuller explanation of it, or toss it out and replace it with a truer thing as my children turn to God in their own relationships with Him.
This is why I have only one wish for my children, that they embrace a trusting and growing relationship with their Creator, their Savior, their God. Because all good things are gifts from God and, when I am most blessed, I am allowed to be a part of the instructional process. When I get it wrong, I am not the last word, never the court of last resort.
Instead each of us, including each of my children, has whole and full access to his and her own, personal, direct, individual relationship with God. Oh, I love when I have conversations where I get a glimpse of God working in their lives. But I don't mistake my roles. I believe that to the extent I live as I believe the Spirit of God guides and empowers me, I hope to be more inspiriting leader than horrible cautionary tale. And I believe I can thank God with a heart fit to break with joy when I see my children living in productive and ethical ways.
And when my children fail, I try to be prompt in acknowledging any ways I might have added to the problem and then I express confidence that they can find their way by God's grace. If I catch myself second guessing or critiquing I know it is time to step back lest I cause my grown child to be distracted by my noise rather than focusing on God's input.
When they continue down a path that is frightening to me I don't get to do more than pray, coach and trust that wherever they wander off to, God is already there awaiting their attention when they turn their face toward God.
While all this is going on I need to be attentive to my own spiritual lifestyle, my own prayer life, service in mission, study, fellowship. Because I am convinced that I offer no greater gift to my loved ones than to have my feet firmly planted in God's garden, blooming, weeding, feeding, watering so that my relationship with my loved one is grounded in my relationship with my God.