Is there a role for parents after their children's high school graduations? A role beyond "hands off!" and "get out your checkbook"? Yes! You are joining us in the midst of a series of posts exploring Pentecost as a model for parenting through the launching-out phase of family life. The thesis is that our role in our children's lives in their adulthood becomes more like the role of the Holy Spirit and less like a physically present Lord.
Caveat: The idea here is not that we take the place of the one, true Holy Spirit for our children, but that we can pattern our interactions with our adult children after the model of the Holy Spirit's work.
It is interesting to linger a moment considering the characteristics of fire, particularly if we are using it as a model.
- Fire is glorious. My mother often said that as an adult, what she desired and admired most in her parents was dignity. When our children become adults, they want to look back and see that they had glorious beginnings. You represent that beginning. And because they expect to be following you, your children will see your dignity, your glory as their future as well.
- Fire gives light. As such, it has been a symbol of truth, knowledge and wisdom. Your example, your teachings through the years and your wise perspective in the future all give light to your child as he ventures into the dusky unknown. Note that fire's light is not knowledge itself, but is that which shows what knowledge is. Fire is what illumines the page, but it is not the words on the page. As parents, we are no longer plain teachers; we are coaches who ask the questions that lead our youth to seize the truth for themselves.
- Fire is the first power source, our first incorporeal tool. Fire is heat, light, cooking, smelting, protection. As parents of adults, we move increasingly from being the initiators of projects with our children toward being the power source for the things they are called to do. Sometimes that does involve the checkbook, but it is so much more. They need encouragement if they are to slay the dragon. They need to be reminded of the heat of their passion to sustain them through the long, cold days slogging ahead to that glorious goal they set for themselves.