Years ago, a father of a 16 year old girl called me at the church to discuss issues with his daughter. Beyond a name on a list, they hadn’t participated in the church community.
He felt that if he forced his daughter to attend it would create longterm resentment for her, and he wanted her to find her “own way.” However, as we talked, he began to express his frustration in her choice of friends, the fact that she was drinking and probably around kids who were doing pot. He mentioned his anxiety about an eating disorder and left unspoken any concern about sexual activity. He was knee deep in the mess of parenting, and having maintained a nominal connection to our community of faith, he was struggling to keep his head above water.
So he was trying to unload his responsibility, as he wanted the church to provide a polished-up youth pastor who could be hip, cool, relevant, while drug/drinking free and promoting the virtues of abstinence: “good role models.”
As we talked, I saw a man parenting from the hip; lost himself while hoping his daughter could find direction.
As we walked out of my office, he said, “Remind me, do you have any kids?”
I laughed to myself, “yep.”
As he left out the door, he mumbled over his shoulder, “Just you wait and see…”
It was at that moment, I recognized the challenge laid before me as a father and was determined that I will not “wait and see.”