Parenting: The Fine Line
A new blog by Shelley Melvin
Parenting. The longer I’m in ministry, the more I coach parents, the further along I move in my own parenting journey, the more I say it: “It’s a fine line.” The picture that comes to mind is one of a trapeze artist walking slowly and carefully along a tightrope. I can see her focusing with utmost concentration as she tries to maintain perfect balance. Too far to the right, too much to the left, and she’ll lose that critical balance and plunge from the line.
As parents we walk that fine line every day…
- the line between firmness and harshness
- between grace and being a pushover
- between having high expectations and having crushing expectations
- between trust and naivete
- between being a parent and being a friend
- between “Because I said so!” and explaining everything
- between coaching and controlling
- between rescuing and letting them fail
- between taking ownership and trusting God
- between welcoming changes and mourning the ends of stages
I’m sure you can think of many more. It’s all so overwhelming; trial and error, really. Sometimes we’re leaning too far to one side of the line, sometimes too far to the other. We make course corrections and try yet again to attain that elusive balance. Sometimes we get it right, and oftentimes we don’t.
Let’s think back to our picture. Depending on the setting, tightrope walkers might have a net below to catch them if they fall, or they might not. The stakes become deadly if they have no safety net.
And so....here is the good news we’re longing for, straight from His Word:
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27). Amazing! Picture it. When we rely on the Lord as we parent, doing our best to follow His lead, He’s like the safety net underneath our tightrope. The everlasting arms of the Almighty God of the Universe are always ready to catch us when we fall, ready to set us straight again. We were never meant to do this on our own, or to have it all figured out. Praise God for the hope that He gives us, for the peace and possibility that He breathes into every impossible situation. And then, just when I didn’t think it could get any better, there’s this…”though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand” (Psalm 37:24). Glory.
It’s a great privilege for me to come alongside parents and offer support and hope gained simply from being just a little further down the road. Watch for more blog posts coming monthly. And please reach out to me with ideas, questions, or if you just want to grab a cup of coffee with me and chat!