Let your children choose. And understand this: You may not be their choice. Your career may not be their choice. Nothing about you may be their choice, but you still must give them the freedom to choose. When you demand that your children choose what you find valuable, that is just your own ego talking.


And I’m not talking about your profession either, that’s an easy one. I am pleased that none of our children are a teacher or a nurse; that means Pam and I gave them that fundamental choice. But we also gave them choice in every other area as well. We exposed them to piano lessons, and then gave them the choice to continue. We paid for their university tuition and books, but made no demands on which subjects to take. Thankfully they didn’t change their minds too often, as that is an expensive choice! But you must let them choose all the other issues as well. You must let them choose how to live, where to live, with whom to live.


You are not going to agree with all of your children’s choices. You’ve lived a life; you know what some of those choices will cost them. After all, you paid a huge price to learn those very same lessons when you were young that they are intent on revisiting. You could spare them a load of grief; you could protect them from a lot of harm. But they don’t want to know, right? What do you do? Let them make the mistake; they’ll learn from it. And the lesson will stick a whole let better because they paid for it with their own pain and humiliation, and not vicariously through yours. Yes, that means you get to go through the whole pain and humiliation thing again with them, and because they are your own flesh and blood you will feel it just as keenly the second time around. But what is the alternative? Do you really want them dependent on you for advice and direction when they are grown? Let them make the choice, even if you know it is a mistake, and love and support them through it.


The hardest area for Pam and I is of course our faith. To us that is life and death. Choosing Christ is eternal life. Rejecting Christ is eternal death. But still you must give your children the choice. Expose them to what is right and true, live it out in your own lives, surround them with those who love them and love the Lord while they are young, and then leave the rest to Him. You cannot force faith. It is a choice that everyone must make themselves.


You need to respect your children’s ability to make their own way in the world and not restrict or hamper them with your perspective on things, even if it is a wise and thoughtful perspective. Let them be who they are, who a loving Lord intended them to be. It is, after all, their life, not yours. You owe your children that much.