What I Hope They Know Before They Go

| July 17, 2017

Parenting Future Adults: 3 Facts I Hope They Know Before Leaving Home

My son is officially a high schooler. He will be a freshman this coming school year, but I already see it. He’s friends with all the lifeguards at the pool. Random high school guys (and girls) talk to him.

He took a practice test for his driving permit today. And he passed. He is ready to take drivers’s ed so he can get his license next year.

My mama heart isn’t ready for that yet. It’s like just yesterday he was my baby. Of course, he would never appreciate me saying that (it will be our little secret, okay?)

Years ago, someone told me that I shouldn’t be raising children, but parenting future adults. Yes, it’s good to let kids be kids, but while they are being kids, we should be equipping them for the future. Back then, when my oldest was 5, that future seemed so far away. Now here I am with a man-child on my hands.

He’s taller than me.

He’s talking about life after high school (which he hasn’t even really been to yet).

As a mom, it’s awesome watching our kids grow. Enjoying them when they’re small, and standing back as they spread their wings… even when it’s hard to do.

I have a lot of friends and family that have poured into me as I’ve been a mother over the years. Many of them already have children that are grown and gone. I’ve seen the delight and despair they have been through after their children have left home, and it’s made me wonder about what the next stage of life will bring. What do I want my children to leave my home with? My time to instill that in them is fleeting.

3 Things I Hope My Kids Know Before Leaving Home

#1.) Jesus

Jesus is a must. I want them going out into the world sure of their salvation. With a firm knowledge that Jesus is going with them and that they will never be alone. That when life falls to apart, God is still good.

I want them to leave home with a relationship with Jesus. Solid in their understanding of the gospel and how it relates to real life.

#2.) My Love For Them Is Unconditional

Parenting Future Adults: 3 Lessons I Hope My Kids Learn Before Leaving Home

Whether my kids succeed or fail. Whether they are bag boys at the local grocery store or the president of the United States, nothing they do could change my love for them. I will always be in their corner; their biggest fan.

I hope they know that. We never know what tomorrow will bring. I may not live to see tomorrow, but I hope I’ve shown them throughout the years that I love them and am proud of them. We have so many struggles in life, I hope they never have to doubt my love for them. I hope they never feel like they have to earn it. Because just as God’s love for us is unearned and unconditional, so is my love for them.

#3.) All People Are Created Equal

I hope my kids leave home knowing that while I will love them no matter what, they are no better than anyone else. God made everyone and every single human being is valuable. We are all different. We will have different areas of strength, just as we all have our own weaknesses.

If everyone was a CEO, who would be the engineers? If we were all plumbers, who would ring up our groceries. Our jobs don’t define us, and they don’t define others. That single mom in the trailer park is just as worthy of our love as the stay-at-home mom in the mansion on the hill.

Just as I love my kids unconditionally, I hope they will love others the same way.

I hope their treatment of others will be a reflection of Jesus’ love for us.

But What If…

Those would be my top three. There are other things I hope I have instilled in my children, but those are the ones I hope they really grasp.

But what if they don’t get those?

What if I’ve failed at this whole motherhood thing? I’ll be honest, it will be rough. But I will still be able to face tomorrow because of Jesus. That’s another thing another mom told me way back when.

“Jesus can save our children despite our best efforts and failures.”

Their salvation isn’t hinging on our parenting skills. Jesus is their savior, not us. There’s freedom in that knowledge.

Yes, I want to do everything I can to help my kids become great adults, but I know that in the end, who they are is rooted in Christ, not me. And if that relationship isn’t solid, it’s not too late. God has a plan for their lives, and it might involve a bumpy road.

Truth be told, all of our lives involve bumpy roads at some point, so I am guaranteed the same will be true for my children (John 16:33). I don’t know where the bumps will be, or what they’ll be. I can’t predict the damage they’ll do. But I can trust that Jesus is bigger.

Are You Parenting Future Adults?

If you have already raised your children, do you have any advice for us younger moms? Or, if you are still in the throes of motherhood like I am, what are you focusing on? What do you hope you will instill in your children? Let us know in the comments below!

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34 Comments

  • Reply Terri Grothe July 17, 2017 at 8:41 am

    This is beautiful I want my kids to know this before leaving home. My son gets married next month and I am going to have this conversation with him and let him know I want him to be 100% ready for all that life throws his way.
    Terri Grothe recently posted…Purpose!My Profile

  • Reply Amy Christensen July 17, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Such good advice, Heather. My girls are full fledged adults now. But I still have to remind myself that I need to keep my mouth shut, pray and let God orchestrate their lives. I appreciate the post.

  • Reply Susan Evans July 17, 2017 at 11:28 am

    I still can’t believe I have 3 teen-aged sons. (One of them is driving!) I want them each to know Jesus and be fully devoted followers of Christ, too.
    Susan Evans recently posted…Tour of Tikal, GuatemalaMy Profile

  • Reply Alice Mills July 17, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I want my children to know Jesus. The best way I know how to do this is have a vibrant faith as an example.
    Alice Mills recently posted…Is Your ‘No’ Broken? Reinforcing Healthy New BoundariesMy Profile

  • Reply Andrea July 17, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    “train up a child in the way….” – Prov. 22:6 – that’s God’s “formula” for bringing up kids!

  • Reply Katie July 17, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    GREAT point!!! Love the thought that Jesus is their Savior, not me! That gives so much peace! I am a failure, He is not!! Thank you for reminding me!
    Katie recently posted…Go to Sleep!!!My Profile

  • Reply Lora Young July 18, 2017 at 9:11 am

    As a former homeschool mom with three adult children and five grandchildren, may I say that this is a wonderful list. As a mom who has a wandering adult child, may I say that your best efforts won’t guarantee they’ll walk with God. Our children have free will. They can choose to wander away from their upbringing. That doesn’t mean we’ve failed at motherhood–although many in the church will try to tell us that. They’ll use the “train up a child” Scripture as a weapon of judgment instead of encouragement to keep praying and loving until the final breath is drawn. Thanks be to God that my son is showing signs of wanting God again. I believe that is due to faithful friends who have continued to lift him before the Lord, even when I couldn’t.

  • Reply Heather July 18, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I want so badly to make sure my children have a strong relationship with Christ. Sometimes I worry that I will fail, but you are correct that I can only show them Christ through my own example and lead them to him as best I can. Ultimately their relationship with him is their own.

    • Reply Heather Hart July 19, 2017 at 11:07 am

      I think every Christian mom longs for her children to know Jesus. I wish we could just snap our fingers and make it so, but it doesn’t work that way. I have to remind myself that God’s plan for my children is better than my own hopes and dreams for them.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Summer Schedules & JesusMy Profile

  • Reply Sheila Qualls July 18, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Someone told me the same thing when my kids were little: I’m raising future adults. They also told me they will make their own decisions as they get older, but if I have been faithful, God will honor my faithfulness in raising them. Some of mine are at the end of the runway, about to take off. I pray they hold fast to the things we have taught them.
    Sheila Qualls recently posted…This is the Most Missed Diagnosis and It Could Be Ruining Your LifeMy Profile

  • Reply Tara July 18, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    I hope to foster the kind of relationship with my children that, if they don’t get these things before they leave home, I can still share with them afterwards. It is definitely easier to start when they are young!
    Tara recently posted…Debunking the Myths about Boxed CurriculumMy Profile

    • Reply Heather Hart July 19, 2017 at 11:09 am

      That is such an important aspect, Tara! I want to be a mom my kids call with good news and bad. A mom they trust with their children. I don’t want our relationship to end when they move away from home.
      Heather Hart recently posted…The Beautiful Chaos of SummerMy Profile

  • Reply Kristi July 19, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    I love this outlook of parenting adults and not children. We can only ask Jesus to help with this and like you wonderfully pointed out, Jesus is their savior not us! Great post!
    Kristi recently posted…Do You Use “Christian Speak?”My Profile

  • Reply Robin Revis Pyke July 20, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Wonderful advice for our children. Our three sons are adults (left home a while ago) and we are intentional in loving them unconditionally, praying they have a deeper relationship with Christ, and reminding them we are called to love one another. One of my favorite books, The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children by Stormie Omartian. There’s so much power and promise when praying God’s word over our children. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Karen Sargent July 20, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Heather, your post really hits home. This topic has been on my mind all summer. My oldest daughter is in Ukraine for the month on a mission trip. She’s turning 21 in August and starting her last year of college. My youngest daughter just graduated high school and is starting college. I’m almost in a breathless panic mode sometimes wondering if I did it right…wondering what kind of young women am I sending out into the world? It’s that point where I have to say I did my best (but not without mistakes, right?)…and hope the values we’ve tried to instill in our girls are the values they stand on when they stand on their own. (I’m taking a deep breath now…) LOL

  • Reply Jenn Buell July 20, 2017 at 9:33 am

    This is a beautiful post. I just graduated my firstborn and he’s headed to college 13 1/2 hours away in four weeks. It makes it hard to breathe sometimes. What encouragement that if I’ve done these three, he’s got a solid foundation. And that Jesus is his savior, not me.

    • Reply Heather Hart July 20, 2017 at 10:05 am

      Jenn, my oldest is on a mission trip this week. He’s only 3 hours away, but there’s a huge hole in our lives without him here. Our kids spend a ton of time away from home in the summer and it’s definitely starting to take a toll. Praying for you as you go through this adjustment.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Let’s Be Real (we all struggle with something)My Profile

  • Reply Lisa notes July 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Yes, I agree that we need to parent today with tomorrow in mind. Knowing the goal of responsible and loving adults can guide our parenting styles in the present. I love your three goals of what you want your kids to know; you’re doing a great job, Heather.
    Lisa notes recently posted…Homeless and Us – Survivors TogetherMy Profile

    • Reply Heather Hart July 21, 2017 at 8:45 am

      Thanks, Lisa! And you are totally right about knowing our goal. Our goals definitely guide us. So knowing what they are helps us parent more intentionally.
      Heather Hart recently posted…The Beautiful Chaos of SummerMy Profile

  • Reply April July 20, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    My youngest of 3 just graduated from high school. They are all still at home (ages 18, 21, and 23) commuting to a local university. It’s so hard raising future adults today. There is so much for them to fall into. I had the help of many and my family, but I have been a single mom for the last 9 1/2 years. The marriage and environment was awful and not healthy for me or my kids. Their dad hasn’t been around since and honestly it was easier by myself than fighting with negative issues and influence. I am proud that my kids have a strong relationship with God. That is what I wanted most for them. They are active in church and have surrounded themselves with people who share their faith. I am also proud that they aren’t scarred by their dad in the fact that they are open and trusting of others. They don’t let toxic people in their life, but they are open to others until they see a reason not to associate with them. It’s so hard raising kids, but just like us adults and parents, if they learn that no matter what they face God is there then I think we have given them the best tool/weapon for the “real world.”

    • Reply Heather Hart July 21, 2017 at 8:47 am

      April, I was raised by a single mom, and she did an outstanding job, just as I’m sure you are. And I love your last line – knowing that no matter what we face that God is there is the best tool we can have for life.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Stuck in a Rut? 3 Steps to Spiritual GrowthMy Profile

  • Reply KellyRBaker July 26, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Oh, I’m right there with you, Heather. I was up praying about my kids at 5 this morning because I want to make sure I’m doing what needs to be done. God laid it on my heart to teach them Bible truths from my own mouth. They’ll still take their Bible curriculum but they’ll be taught from me once a week. (I used to teach them Bible daily but it got too much with all the other homeschool subjects.) Thanks for the encouragement today!

  • Reply jasmeen August 28, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    lovely post.. every mother love for their child is unconditional and child love for their parents too and we child never hurt our parents feelings because they live for us and sacerifice their happiness for their childern

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