I’ve been watching a situation develop in a family that reminds me of my own parenting days.
My husband and I were faced with a child who had a serious problem we didn’t know how to handle. We counseled with each other. We did our research. We talked with the child. We researched some more. We prayed. We talked. We prayed some more. We took what we thought were appropriate actions. We continued to pray. Nothing seemed to work. We understood that nothing we could do or say to our child would have any effect until our child independently decided to do something about the issue. At that point, I decided that for the sake of easing my own conscience, I would do all that I could do and then leave it in God’s hands.
Parents sometimes are faced with situations where there are no solutions. Children have agency. Even Heavenly Father will not take away their agency. When no real solutions exist and we can’t solve our children’s problems for them, we do all that we can do—and then step away. We put it in God’s hands. We trust in Him to help our children find proper solutions. We watch them make mistakes along the way, having faith that they will eventually get it right.
My heart has been breaking recently as I’ve watched a family struggle. A parent confided in me, “I don’t think it will work, but I have to know that I did everything I could.” Whether her current attempt at resolving the issue works or not, she will be able to walk away knowing that she did her best to teach her child and to help her child become a responsible adult. That’s all she can do—everything she knows how to do and everything she can do. After that, it is between her child and Heavenly Father. She has taught her child to listen to the Holy Ghost—now she prays that actually happens.
Parenting is one of the most, if not the most, rewarding experience we can have—but it is also the most frustrating. We are given these tiny, innocent humans with the responsibility of molding them into responsible adults. It behooves us all to remember that we can only do our best. We are not miracle workers. We are human beings with frailties just like our children. Each child is as unique as a snowflake, and no two are exactly the same. No two children respond to any given situation completely alike.
Children don’t come with operating manuals. The children are the game players. We are the team managers. The scriptures are our guidebook. The Holy Ghost is the general manager. The Savior is both head coach and umpire. Heavenly Father is the scorekeeper, instant replay technician, and statistician. All we can do is play the game and do all we can do. Then we leave it in Heavenly Father’s hands.
Parents, cut yourselves some slack. Don’t blame yourselves for the human frailties of those you are entrusted to raise. Just do your best. Keep your covenants. Be an example. Do all you can do. Then take a breath, get on your knees, and ask God to make it right. He has a plan, and we don’t know every tiny detail in that plan. Trust Him that knows the end from the beginning. Do all you can do and then trust God.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.