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A boy grows up

Just yesterday, two events marked a transition in my son from a ‘boy’ to a ‘man’: He drove his car to school by himself, and in the evening, went to his first day at work. Discussing both events later in the night, he described these as giving him a great sense of freedom: the first as one that gave him the freedom of movement and the second as one that will give him at least some degree of freedom in finances (he mentioned taking care of fueling up the car). Both events occur commonly at this time of the year in many families across this country as the academic year starts and teenagers reach the legal age when they can drive and work. Although common, these are important milestones in the life of a teenager that can serve as markers in time to record the transition of a child into an adult, and we need to recognize that as such. So my son: welcome to adulthood!

(Before I launch into the main point, I do have an older daughter in college who has already started working. I am remiss in not blogging on this subject earlier, so even as I use my son as an example, these principles apply equally to both my children)

Through this event, I felt a sense of achievement that was probably at a higher level than he did. And as always, I wanted to map these feelings to how God feels when we “grow up” in His eyes. There are many parallels that I can draw between these events and our own spiritual growth. I remember the time when I saw my son for the first time in the delivery room at the Khoula Hospital in faraway Muscat (capital city of the Sultanate of Oman), and I well remember the indescribable feeling of joy when I held my daughter in my arms for the first time. (I wanted to be seated before the nurse gave her to me because I was so afraid I would drop this little bundle!) Little did I know of the exciting journey that my wife and I would take through life with these little babies! At that time, we were unable to make this leap across time and understand that these little ones will grow up and achieve all that they have (and will in the future).

Such a leap across Time is not a problem for God though. Even before we were born, nay even before we were even formed, God knew His plans for us, and what He would help us do with our lives. The Psalmist said this best in Psalm 139:131-16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Although He knew what we will do with our lives, He still gave us the choice. I blogged on this earlier in my post titled “Recipe for Life: 3 parts God, 1 part you”.

Now about the car: Since he is a minor, the title deed for my son’s car is still in my name (although he has his name in the insurance papers as a listed driver, and I cover his insurance). For all practical purposes though, the car is his and in principle, I need to let him know when I need to borrow his car. He is supposed to drive it, take care of it, and make sure he uses it for “good purpose”. In the very same manner, God has given us resources that we need to take care of, and ultimately use for his “good purpose”. In fact, Rom 8:28 assures that He will ensure all things will work for us when we work for His purpose “… in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” These resources include time (24 hours a day for everyone in this world, both rich and poor), family (to raise and nurture for His glory), work (a place not just to help make ends meet, but an opportunity to witness for Him) and so on. God’s name is on my title deed and I am covered by His insurance – how about you?

As well, I need to draw a parallel to the job he has: Before he took up this job, it was made clear to my son (and daughter) that the job always comes second to school (or college as the case may be). Although the prospect of making money is attractive (minimum wage is still a lot of money in a teenager’s eyes!), they need to understand that the job is always secondary to studies which is their main occupation right now. In much the same way, we need to understand that we have a larger purpose in Life and work is just one part of that (as I briefly noted in the paragraph above). In fact, St. Paul sets the right attitude we need towards work. Col 3:23-24 is a favorite verse of mine: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.“.

Finally, we need to recognize that growth and change is part of every day life. Just as my children grew up and took on the responsibilities appropriate to their age and position in their life and in the family, we need to grow and continue to exhibit positive change in our spiritual life and in the family of God. In I Cor 13:11 Paul states thus: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me”. Much as my wife and I would like to think of our children as “our little babies”, we need to acknowledge that indeed, they have grown up. We are confident that our two teenagers are on the right path and on their way to becoming full adults. We will never fully be able to let go of the children, but we have taken some major steps and this entry is in some ways a public announcement of this “letting go”. Similarly, in our own spiritual lives, I hope we have grown and will continue to grow, for that is what God wants for you and me – His children…

In Him,

John Kanagaraj

August 21, 2008 at 8:25 am 2 comments


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