The other day, I experienced a parenting lesson on the refinement of character which I literally felt for myself and my young adult daughters while visiting them in Colorado and California. Even when children leave home and begin to establish their own lives, we are still their parents. They may or may not need our advice, instruction, or correction but we are still there for them. So, how do we parent our young adult children?
On making my rounds to visit my kids, we love catching up and sharing what is going on in our lives. While we visit, we ventured out to explore new sites in each state. This trip we explored the Great Sand Dunes National Monument in southern Colorado and Desert Hot Springs in southern California. Both states share some desert like characteristics while also being rich in diverse landscape surroundings. Colorado is considered a high desert because of the higher elevation of the land. Upon arrival to the sand dunes in CO, I thought I was in the Sahara Desert of Africa. This unusual and unexpected landform sits right below the Sangre De Cristo mountain range. The day was sunny, windy, and cool as we walked out unto the dunes. The sun was hot, and the sand was warm as we began to climb barefoot towards the highest peak. The wind became fierce as it picked up the sand and hit us on our open, exposed skin. After a time of this harsh battering, our skin was covered with sand and stinging from all the pelts. As we paused to take in the beauty, our senses alerted us to the fact that we had had enough.
In California, as we entered the low desert, I could hardly keep the car on the road because the wind was blowing so hard. Windmills dotting the landscape to capture this natural resource. As we explored art in the desert, once again, I experienced the merge of wind and sand on my face and body. The tingling bite of the forces reminded me of a force at work on me to bring refinement. Not to hurt or injury but to refine.
As a parent, when I visit my children and hear their trials, triumphs, and struggles, I don’t have to say anything. As they share, I can see that they have enter their own wind and sand tunnel that strikes them. Life’s refining process is at work in them. I’m refined as well as I listen, watch, and allow them to go through their struggles without interfering. The process of growth and change is uncomfortable; but it is necessary for wholeness.
True character and strength are only developed when the elements come together to smooth out our rough edges. Beauty is present in the act of the elements. At times, life will parent for us. We just need to stand back and be there to support.