This is a topic that has been BIG in our lives the past few years, and it just got BIGGER with a recent situation. Here are a few quotes from Linny's Blog Post ...
Now someone could say, "but scripture tells us to honor our parents." True! But honoring is showing respect, whether married or not. It is not obeying. When a person grows up and leaves home they are "out from under their parents 'rule'." The only one we are to obey is God. In fact scripture says, "It is better to obey God than man." (Acts 5:29)
Please hear my heart. It can be incredibly painful to not have family support. ... That being said, we cannot be content living our lives to make our parents or siblings "happy". ... The only one we are to please is God - period!!
If I were to be sitting down for coffee with Linny, I would ask her a few questions (and, just maybe, she'll answer them for us in the comments section) ...
#1 How about these verses:
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." Ephesians 6:1
"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." Colossians 3:20
#2. Where did you get the quote, "out from under their parents 'rule'"? Is this in scripture?
#3 When you say, "when a person grows up and leaves home" ... does this mean that if my 17 year old goes off to college, he no longer has any obligation to listen to his parents? How about if my 22 year old is living in my home? She's an adult, but sleeping in her childhood bedroom.
I do not believe that by hitting the magic age of 18 or 21 that my "children" are then somehow released from the above verses. I believe that it is at the time of marriage that we will be releasing our children into a marriage partnership where they will then be submitting to and honoring their marriage partner. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." Genesis 2:24 (Also, as the young adults get older, there will obviously be more and more releasing ... even if they do not get married.) However, as Linny points out, even once married our children should be showing honor to us, just as we should still be showing honor to our parents.
Now, Linny, I TOTALLY do hear your heart, and as I said, agree with you 99%. For me, if I was talking to a married couple, I would absolutely agree with you. But, what if it was an 18 year old girl that took a mission trip and decided to stay in a foreign country to raise a child she'd found living on the streets. If her parents were committed and prayerful Christians, who had some serious specific concerns about what she was deciding to do, don't you think it would be good for her to really listen to her parents' concerns? Doesn't the Bible call us to seek counsel from others? Doesn't the Bible call older people to teach and guide the younger generation?
As I said, this is a topic that has been BIG in our lives the past few years. We have 6 adult children (ages 19-25). All of them are still single, and most of them have been living at home for a good portion of their adult lives (aside from when they are traveling the world, working for the Lord).
Now, here is how we have parented our adult children ...
We do NOT tell them what to do or not to do.
We do NOT tell them to obey us.
We DO tell them that they are adults,
and they must make the final decision.
However, there have been times that we have not felt comfortable with the decisions they were making; we have clearly given our opinion on what we felt that God had shown us about the situation; and we have made it clear that they were making their decisions without our blessing.
Sometimes, our adult children have changed their decision and decided to do what we recommended/suggested/strongly encouraged.
Other times, our adult children have gone ahead with the decision, even though they were fully aware that we did not believe it was God's best for their lives.
Now, we are NOT at all the type of parents that are trying to direct every step of our children's lives. We have always encouraged them to follow their dreams and passions. We have sent them off around the world, with our blessing. We have sent one off to the military, and Iraq, with our blessing. We have NOT told them that they must ... attend college ... pursue a specific career ... stay home ... move out ... live in our town ... move out of town ... We have really encouraged them to make their own decisions in most every area of their young adult lives. However ... sometimes ... we have HUGE concerns about a particular decision. What are we to do at those times?
Parents of Adult Children ... I would LOVE to hear how you walk this fine line.
Young Adults ... I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this topic.
Parents of Young Children ... I'm sorry to tell you that parenting young adults is NOT necessarily easy.
So, let's look at some specific scenarios ...
What would you do, as the parent, or as the young adult???
(some of these scenarios are our own adult children,
some are the adult children of friends of ours)
#1 21 yr. old wants to buy a car. Has a job that within a couple of months could easily provide the cash for the car. Prefers to spend money shopping at the mall and going out for coffee. Young adult (who is living at home, rent free.) wants to take out a car loan. Parents strongly encourage young adult to pay cash for vehicle.
Parents ... how would you respond if young adult took out car loan?
Young Adults ... would you take out the loan?
#2 20 yr. old wants to attend private college. Parents agree to provide 1/3, if young adult will pay for 1/3, and then agree that taking a loan for 1/3 would be acceptable. Young adult doesn't end up paying cash for their 1/3 and takes out larger loan without discussing with parents.
Parents ... how would you respond to break in agreement?
Young Adults ... what would you have done?
#3 20 yr. old wants to attend 2nd year at private college. Parents have multiple solid reasons why this would not be God's best for the young adult, but tell the young adult that it ultimately is their decision.
Parents ... would you help pay for college if young adult decides to return?
Young Adults ... would you go, even if parents didn't want you to?
#4 20 yr. old wants to drop out of college to attend a ministry school. Parents believe it would be best to return to the university this year.
Parents ... would you help pay for ministry school, if that was what young adult decided?
Young Adults ... would you return to the university, even if you wanted to go to the ministry school for a year?
Missions / Ministry
#5 18 yr old (who still lives at home) wants to go on short term mission trip. Parents are fully supportive of missions, but for a variety of reasons do not believe this young adult should attend this mission trip.
Parents ... how would you respond if young adult decided to go?
Young Adults ... would you go, even if your parents didn't want you to?
#6 18 yr old daughter (who still lives at home) is in a serious relationship where they are discussing marriage. Parents become very concerned about the controlling nature of the young man.
Parents ... would you tell your daughter not to date him any more, or just let her decide because "she's an adult"?
Young Adults ... would you consider breaking off the relationship because of your parents' concerns, or would you say, "I can make my own decisions."
#7 20 yr. old daughter starts spending a lot of time with a young man. Parents are concerned that neither young adult is ready for a serious relationship. Young man asks father's permission to date daughter. Father says, "Not right now." and explains why. 3 weeks later, young man asks father's permission to marry daughter (when he hasn't even gotten permission to date daughter). Father says, "No." and explains why. 3 weeks later, young man and daughter announce to the world (through Facebook) that they are now "in a relationship".
Parents ... what would you do? How would you respond?
Young Adults ... would you pursue a relationship, when your parents have very specific concerns?
Now ... these are Christian young adults, who are seeking the Lord for their lives. And ... these are Christian parents, who are also seeking the Lord for their lives and the lives of their children. What is the answer, when they both believe that they are "hearing from the Lord"?
Here is my belief. I have shared this with my children, and I have shared this with friends who are walking the fine line with their young adult children. Feel free to disagree ... I know that some of my own young adults disagree. But, I would love to, respectfully, hear your thoughts on this.
I believe that ...
If the parents are actively seeking the Lord for wisdom in a situation for their single, young adult child, that the young adult should seriously consider doing what the parents feel is best in the situation. I believe that, if the parents have been walking with the Lord for many years, they have deeper wisdom and that they can see the bigger picture than the young adult usually can. I believe that young adults are to seek counsel from their elders, and that they should act upon the godly counsel that they receive. And, I believe that even if the parents are wrong ... if the young adult really was hearing from the Lord, and the parents didn't, for whatever reason, hear clearly ... I believe that the Lord will BLESS the young adult abundantly, for their desire to honor and obey their parents, and to act upon the wisdom that their parents are imparting.
I know ... it may sound radical ... but that is what I truly believe.
I also believe that there is much parallel in a young single adult's relationship with their parents, and the marriage relationship ... and much can be learned from walking in right relationship with their parents, before they enter into a marriage relationship.
I believe that a husband and wife must respect, and seek to honor, each other (as the parent and young adult must). I believe that the husband and wife must learn to seek the Lord wholeheartedly, together, as they make decisions. I believe that it is best if the husband and wife can come to agreement in their decision making (just as it is best if a young adult and their parents can come to agreement). However ... sometimes an agreement cannot be reached. In the marriage relationship, I believe that the husband is the head of the house, and in that God-given role that the husband must make the ultimate decision. "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." Colossians 3:18 (And, yes, there have been times that my husband has made decisions that were fully against my wishes ... but I have honored him as he has made those decisions. In 27 years, though, it has only happened 3 times, where we just were not in agreement about a major decision.) In the same way, I believe that single young adult children should submit to their parents' guidance, even if/when they don't agree.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this. I know it is a TOUGH issue, but I don't want to follow popular, worldly wisdom that says, "When they are adults, we must just let them do what they want to do." No. I believe that I am still called to be their parent ... to seek the Lord on their behalf ... and to give counsel when they are making life decisions. The Bible does not define "child" as someone under 18 or under 21. I will always be a child of God, just as my children will always be children of mine.
Again, I am not in any way using Linny's quote to speak disparagingly of her, but as a jumping off point for a blog post that has been percolating for a very long time. I sincerely hope that Linny will jump into the discussion and let us know her thoughts. I know that several of my young adult children will read her words and think, "Yea, Linny. Preach it!"