We went driving tonight, Hope and I. Actually, we were both headed to church and so I gave her the opportunity to drive.  She has her permit, needs to get her license, hasn’t had much time to practice recently, and so was kind of forced to have the opportunity.

We started talking about traveling, about going someplace else in the world. She said, “I may not have my license but I have my passport.”

We both suddenly realized the implications of that. She has her passport. I don’t. She may not be able to drive alone yet, but, in her words, “I can go places you can’t go.”

That’s what we’re doing with our kids, I think. We are trying to get them passports to life. We give them experiences and boundaries, values and permission, resources and challenges. We want to provide direction and foundations, but we also understand that though they come from us, they aren’t us. They, as we, are fearfully and wonderfully made, as David wrote in a poem.

“I can go places you can’t go,” she said, “but I wouldn’t go there alone.”

That’s why I’m riding with you, dear child, my fists as tightly clasped on themselves as yours are on the wheel. I’m giving you experience and direction so that when you are alone, you still hear my voice saying softly “the speed limit is 45 here.” And I’m also giving you this: for all my wisdom as a dad, I am incredibly finite. I can wish you well, I can direct you well, but I can’t keep you. But there is a Friend that is closer than a brother. There is a Father from whom all families on earth, Paul writes in a flight of poetic prose, take their name.

You are going places I can’t go, passport or no. But you will never ever go there alone.


7 responses to “unlimited

  1. That truth is the only thing that makes it possible to “let go” and launch our kids, that’s for sure…otherwise, it would be terrifying without remedy.

  2. Because of who i was
    and what i did as a teen
    i am so afraid of violette becoming one

    but this is a good reminder
    to do what i can now
    and to continue to develop faith
    in ourselves
    in each other
    in God
    in others

    it’s a good reminder
    that if i can offer a worthy example of faith
    that it may inspire her/teach her to develop one as well

    which sounds all well and fine
    til i stand back and ask
    “How do I actually *do* that??”
    now that’s a different story 🙂

  3. I only know in retrospect.
    One turn at a time.
    One choice and then
    rechoice at a time.
    Direction and course correction and community.

  4. Hi Jon,
    I can relate as I have a daughter of the same age. Guess the biggest thing for me is finding the balance of advice vs. nagging that doesn’t get either of us anywhere. I’m constantly amazed at how much I remember those nuggets of wisdom and love that my parents shared without me even know it at the time. Your words remind me of this and of how important it is to be supportive as well as looking out for them. Sometimes it’s not what we say but what we do that they remember most.


  5. One of life’s greatest pleasures is watching the children of friends and friends who are children (and Hope fits both those categories for me) transform into unique, amazing young men and women.

  6. I’m with you Kat- the thought of the Punks…
    But I hope they will develop faith- and sooner than I did.

    And I hope that even when they do dumb things they are smart about them.

    And I hope and I pray that we will talk. I didn’t (and don’t) often with my parents (mom).

  7. Rick – thanks for stopping by. You are right. It’s often the doing, or the sense of congruence between say and do, that sticks.

    Anna, agreed. And it was fun being with yours last weekend.

    Meg. Because you understand, the same ‘mistakes’ won’t happen. It’s those other ones that I still worry about…