Unfinished Projects: Sons & Daughters

Unfinished Projects: Sons & Daughters

Originally Posted by Mike Young May 2014

We’re about to release our first arrow.

Tim will graduate from high school on Thursday, June 5th. He will enter the United States Military Academy at West Point on Wednesday, July 2nd. Things will change drastically for him, and us.

Tim’s excited about the adventure ahead and counting down the days. He’ll be a member of the Class of 2018 and if all goes well, will follow 4 years of education with at least 5 years of service as an Army Officer. He’s got a countdown timer on his phone and reminds us constantly of how many days he has left.

We’re counting the days too, but for different reasons. Stacy and I are certainly excited and proud of him. But as the days tick by we are both very introspective about his preparation. Oh, he’s academically ready and physically ready. The experience will not be a cakewalk but I think he’s ready for the challenges they’ll throw at him. One of our struggles is that we’re also thinking about all the things we didn’t teach him or talk to him about.

I’m coming to grips with the fact that Tim is like so many other things around our house.

He’s an unfinished project.

Perhaps your house is like ours. We have grand plans and vision but time and money sometimes run short… so I got the tile done in the half bath and the back hall but didn’t take it all the way into the laundry room. We started on the fire pit but ran out of stone and winter came. I installed the medicine cabinet in our master bathroom but never painted the small sheetrock repair adjacent to it.

So, for various reasons, our house is filled with many unfinished projects. I prefer to call them works in progress. And I guess we’ll have to look at Tim that way too. In 45 days (at the time of this writing). We’ll stand in line with him until we hear, “You have 90 seconds to say goodbye to your cadet!” He’ll hug Stacy and his sister and shake my hand and hit his brothers, then he’ll be swept away and life will change.

He’s more than ready to go and we are excited for his launch but I’m still thinking about what I didn’t teach him.

  • I don’t think we talked enough about managing money.
  • I know we didn’t memorize enough scripture.
  • I should have talked with him more about girls.
  • He really doesn’t know much about vehicle maintenance.
  • I pray for him constantly but I haven’t prayed with him enough recently.

Surely, the missed opportunities are counterbalanced by many things that I did teach him and talk about. That doesn’t keep me from thinking about what didn’t get done. Let’s face it; I would probably never reach a point where I think the job is done. So close quarters parenting is almost over with this one. Stacy and I will soon begin to pray, and parent (as he allows) from a distance as we continue to invest in the other three.

What’s my message here?

Take stock of where you are and what you are doing in the parenting process.

I think ultimately we should want to see them launch successfully as early as possible. But recognize that we’ll probably always feel they’re not completely ready.

Battle this in two ways…

  • Be strategic and intentional about teaching them what you can while you can. Make a list of things to do and teach. Work your plan.
  • Make sure you teach them how to evaluate situations, assess opportunities and make sound decisions based on Biblical principles.

It’s not possible to teach them everything. But it is possible and necessary to teach them how to walk with God and honor Him with their lives.