I was talking to my nearly 40 year old friend. I knew some of her story. Some of her teen years and her 20s were filled with tumult.
So I asked her, “What advice now would you give your 20 year old self?”
She paused, and she laughed. I suspect she pictured herself at 20 – full of vigor and brashness.
Her words surprised me. “Be patient and be gracious.” At 20, she admitted that maybe she wanted too much, too soon. Too young. Too headstrong. A little dose of patience would have served her well. Alas, how much we all might benefit from patience. We don’t need everything now.
Be gracious. This one might surprise you. But the grace she spoke of was for her parents.At 20, we tend to be hard on our parents.
In the pride of our 20s, we tend to think of our parents as foolish, silly and stubborn. We expect our parents to get it right. And too often they don’t, and we tend to be quick to hold it against them.
My friend told me simply: “I’d give my parents more grace. It was their first time too.”
Her words of wisdom strike a chord for all. Every parent, no matter the season, is always walking through their experience for the first time. Parenting doesn’t come with a guidebook or rule book. It is a first time experience – always.
For every first time experience, we need to give a little grace. Good advice from a 40 year old self to her 20 year old self.
Parents, no matter where you are in your journey with children, lean into the grace God offers and pursue humility. That faithfulness leaves a mark on your children, even if its distinct impact is not realized until later.
Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.