Three years ago (January 27, 2012, to be exact) I posted these reflections about what we as parents hope for our children as they grow to adulthood. "Children growing up" is a bit less abstract now, as John Paul is getting ready to enter college. The kids are growing, thank God. I do believe these words have value, and so I present them again as we end this first month of the year 2015:
We are living the daily business of a family of growing children. Everyone is growing, in different ways. We have seen our friends’ children make it to adulthood, embark upon their vocations, and sometimes move far away. I interact with my kids in so many ways that it’s easy to take them for granted. Yet they are on their way to becoming adults. They have been created for a destiny that is greater than anything we can give them. What, ultimately, can parents say to their children? I want my children to know and experience the truth of these words, from the hearts of their parents:
What we pray for, what we keep praying for, is that you follow the love of Jesus. Don't be afraid of the difficulties or the questions. Pray and hope and bring yourself to Him just as you are, because His merciful heart is reaching out to you.
Wherever His love takes you, we will find joy in entrusting you to Him. Of course, we hope you'll be around and we will have much time together. Perhaps you will have a spouse and children of your own, and our family will grow in new ways. That would bring us many joys, and new responsibilities that we will gladly undertake. But we pray and pray that, in everything, you will belong to Him: the One who created you, who makes you to be you, Jesus, who gives Himself for you. No one else deserves that deep core of your heart. Ultimately, no one else is worthy of you except Him.
And we, your parents, have been given to you by God to lead you on the path of growing up, and then to continue to be companions with you on this journey. We are all still growing up in this world. And we have been placed together by God, as a family, to help each other. Whatever you need, ask. We can help one another, inside His great Heart of love. If anything troubles you, if you have any burden, you can share it. No matter what it is. We are not going to run away. We pray that, by the grace of the Heart of Jesus, we will always be here for you.
Even if you get lost, even if you get tangled up in problems and doubts, we will remain here for you. If you make mistakes, we pray that God's mercy in truth and love will always shine through us. If we must, we will seek you out, not to harass you but to help you if you ask, and to bear with you whatever sorrows and afflictions weigh upon you.
Most importantly, we are determined to place our trust in God's infinite love, and to remain committed to you no matter what happens in your life, so that you always know that you are loved.