I love to read novels. Specifically old British romance novels like Jane Austen. Consistently, by the first few chapters, I pretty much know how the book is going to end, but I can’t stop reading because I am so curious to see how the characters will get where they are headed. Even though I know the ultimate result, I want to walk the journey with them.
It struck me yesterday that it should be the same with my parenting; I should be excited and curious about the journey my kids are on, even though I know they will ultimately grow up to be independent adults serving others for the glory of God. Too often, I am distracted, and, if I’m honest, discouraged by how difficult the journey is. The twists and turns and unexpected adventures seem to threaten the end result, and I lose my joy in parenting these amazing human beings God has entrusted to my care for such a brief time.
The Bible says in Psalm 127:4 “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.” When you think about it, this is just a different analogy to say the same thing. We know the target, but we have to be the archer fitting the arrow onto the bow string, pulling it back and letting it go. I know very little about archery, but I know enough to glean some things from this passage that relate to raising kids with ADHD. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned as I’ve pondered this verse over the last few months -
Keep your eyes on the target - The journey is not the target, even though it feels that way sometimes. If we take our eyes off the target, the arrow will completely miss the mark. But if our eyes are on the target, we will point our little arrows to that target as well.
You have to practice - Just as archers don’t learn to hit the target the first time, parents must first learn the mechanics of parenting and then practice them until they get strong and see clearly.
You have to fit the arrow onto the string - Some arrows don’t fit the average string, just as some children don’t fit into the box society tells us is acceptable. You have to be willing to try different things until you find what fits.
You have to pull the string back - I think of this as putting in the elbow grease. If you’ve ever shot an arrow, you know it takes a lot of strength to pull the string back. Parenting takes a lot of strength as well.
You have to let the arrow go - At some point, you have to let your child go into the world, knowing they might get off track and they might miss the target sometimes. But if we have been faithful to do all the prep-work, it becomes our role to pray they will turn back to the right path.
Sometimes the process hurts - Shooting an arrow can sting your cheek, twang your ear, and cause calluses to form on your fingers. Similarly, raising kids, especially neuro-diverse ones, can be painful and it can be lonely. God promises to be with us and he wants us and our kids to flourish.
The rewards are great - Few things, if any, bring more joy than seeing your children grow and mature into the men and women God designed them to be, doing His work for His kingdom. And our rewards in heaven will be even greater for having been faithful to this work God called us to.
I know it’s hard, Friend. Don’t quit. Keep your eyes on God and keep practicing. He will be faithful to help you and He will bring good out of your situation (Romans 8:28) as you continue to be faithful to the calling of parenting those amazing kids of yours.
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