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.