Raising teenagers changed the way I look at independence. I can look back at my own quest for independence and have a clearer understanding of both sides of the equation. There’s something about breaking free from the rules and from our ties to childhood that compels many (including myself) to rebel against their parental units.
The hard lesson is that quite often the freedom that is sought, fought for and won is not really freedom. While my girls might be independent relative to their parents, they did not step out of this household and gain self-reliance. In some ways they’re getting there, yes, but each of them has relied on (or is still relying on) welfare in order to get on their feet. Currently, each of them relies on the parents of their “significant other” (whether by necessity or convenience, I can’t say).
D#1 is living with her boyfriend and his parents. She’s got a steady job with insurance! Things seem to be on track, based on the last year. She’s not raising either of her children, though. And that’s for the best.
D#2 is married and raising our youngest grandson (hurray!), living in a 1-bedroom apartment with her MIL, supplemented by food stamps.
D#3 wrapped up her 1st year of college by moving into an apartment with her girlfriend. Neither of them work. My daughter says the money she saved from the part-time job she worked for a month or so last summer…is dwindling. Admittedly, I’m leaping with both feet to the conclusion that there’s some welfare going on there. She’s the one who left home partly because we wanted her to earn some of the money for college, which we would reimburse. I guess she showed us. She’s the only one of the 3 who has not ever hit us up for anything since she left home. Is it better for her to show us she doesn’t need us? Not from where I sit.
I can’t help but find parallels between my children’s relationship with their parents and our relationship with God. God is our parental unit. God wants what’s best for us. God has given us rules that He expects us to follow. God expects us to be honest with Him and God hopes that we seek and maintain a relationship with Him. He notices when we’re away and He’s grateful when we return. The more time we spend with Him, the happier He is and the easier it is for Him to help us. If we only seek Him during times of crisis, He may be slower to respond. He may take time to figure out what’s best for us in our given situation. If we never seek Him, if we don’t need Him, if we never ask for anything, well…there’s not much He can do for us.
Meanwhile, are we relying on other gods to satisfy our needs?