Many years ago I went to a wedding and sat next to an older man – my kids were still in single digits, his were well into their early 20’s. We knew each other but not that well so we were catching up with where our families where at. After I shared, with enthusiasm, about each of my children he made a comment that really didn’t sit well with me at all.
He said: You wait till your kids are teenagers! They’ll just do what they want to do, they’ll break your heart and you’ll remember your hopes with sadness!
Bit heavy for casual dinner conversation! I smiled politely and changed conversation. Inside I was not happy! How dare he let his story rob me of the hope for my story!
His story was one of dashed hopes. His children had made choices that made him sad, had disappointed and hurt him. I get that. But to make a blanket statement was very discouraging to a young mum.
I wanted to hold onto my parenting years with hope – not blindly disregarding the pitfalls, challenges and disappointments but I certainly didn’t want to pin my hopes on such negative expectations. This isn’t just an exercise in positive thinking but truly, if I didn’t have hopes that my kids were going to be okay, I may as well wash my hands of it all then and there and just let whatever happen.
To have a hope means we can hear other people’s stories and feel empathy for their disappointments but we do not need to let their story define our story. We can learn from them but we never need to give up our own hope.
We live in a world consumed with telling each other it is okay when things don’t go according to plan, that we forget to encourage each other that things can go okay, and then rejoice when they do.
I do hope that my kids will turn out okay.
According to the dictionary hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had, or that events will turn out for the best.
I want the best for my kids – I hope that they will have a personal relationship with Jesus, that they will have a healthy marriage, rejoice with children, find purpose and productivity in their life, that they will enjoy creativity and friendships, and that I will always be a part of their life.
The thing is though that my love for them is different than my hope for them. If my hopes never come to fruition, my love will stand. That is my hope for myself – that my love will be bigger than, stronger than, any dashed hopes.
But today I stand and hope that my kids will turn out okay.
And I hope yours will too!
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