Journal entry from July 3, 2006:

“Sometimes, Lord, the effort of trying to raise kids the right way doesn’t seem to be worth it.  We do it imperfectly, they respond imperfectly by thinking we’re wrong and they know better, or by simply not obeying, and the original plan or intention is never realized.  We want to protect them or give them something good, and they don’t want it.  I’m tempted to ask, “Why bother?” 

I’ve been on that route, I know the terrain, I know the twists and turns and the road conditions, I know what kind of drivers and traffic they’ll encounter.  I offer them some helpful tools and good advice.  They smile and say, “I won’t need those, none of my friends are using them.  I’m planning on doing it this way–I figure that’ll work just fine.”  Etc, etc.

Parent: I want to spare you pain and garbage and failure.

Child: I need to experience life for myself and learn for myself.

Parent: I WANT you to experience life and to learn, I just want you to avoid some of the damaging stuff.

Child: I’ll be all right, everybody makes mistakes.

Parent: Yes, but I can help you avoid some of them.  Why make 10 mistakes when I can help you skip 6 of them?

Child: I appreciate what you’re trying to do, and I know it’s because you care about me, but I need to find my own way.  Your way might not be right for me.

I suppose, Lord, that part of the answer is that they would’ve gone even farther astray if it hadn’t been for our influence; that having a goal of 100% and making 79% is better than having no goal at all and just randomly making 23%; that yes, everyone DOES make mistakes–parents and children both, and you can’t expect an imperfect parent training an imperfect child–who isn’t even finished maturing yet–to arrive at wisdom and perfection.

But it’s still frustrating and heartbreaking.”

Note: I was tempted to edit this and do a little rewriting to bolster my argument, but I decided to leave it as is.  Since most people become parents someday and most people HAD parents, most people will be able to relate to this–at least eventually.  (And yes, this really was a journal entry from ’06)