This week will see significant changes in many families. Children will start new grades in school, university students will leave home and settle into dorms, and graduates will look hard for jobs that may take them to new places. Parents, who know full well the difficulties of the world, long for the days when their children were safe at home. But would that be the best for them now?
When Jacob left home, he learned that the world was not there to serve him. His selfish ways brought him much hardship. He couldn’t even have his way with his choice in a wife. He learned quickly to become disciplined, skilled, and to trust in God, not just himself or his family connections. Gen.27-33.
Joseph was torn from his family as a teenager and thrust into the cruel world of slavery in a foreign country. What hurt most was that his own brothers were at fault. But despite difficult employers, hard labour, and time in jail, he learned to use his wits and trust God’s overall plan. Would he have become the trusted second-in-command over all of Egypt if he had remained at home? Gen.37-41.
David showed great courage as a young man, but only reached his stride when king Saul drafted him into the army. There he made new friends (Jonathan), fought and won personal battles, learned to survive, and eventually became a powerful leader, eventually replacing Saul. His parents trained him, but his independence matured him.
I suspect that even Jesus gained great confidence at 12 years old from his experience with the Jewish teachers in the temple, alone (Luke 2:45-49). His famous statement to his fretting parents teaches us all: “Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?”
Good homes guide young people as they find their footing for their upcoming independent lives. But eventually we must let our children grow to adults and fly from the nest. Having done your work, they will thrive. Their faith will guide them.
– Tim Johnson