Post by: Garrison Polsgrove
Youth Discipleship Pastor at Shepherd Church
Clarity is often times the gateway to sanity. OK, let me explain. I recently meet with a frustrated married couple who were having trouble approving of their college-age son’s lackadaisical decisions. “He won’t get a job?” “He needs to start taking initiative for his life.” “He hasn’t even tried to look for work.” These were the tension revealing one liner statements the parents admitted to me in our meeting. The father kept saying, “When I was his age…” and followed it with a list of hard working endeavors that would put any young person to shame. The son sat in the corner of the room looking at the ground as his parents lamented to a pastor he had just met.
The mother chimed in, “It is just we do so much for him and I am scared he is going to live to regret the things he is doing.” I could tell her mother’s heart was breaking over the thought of seeing her “baby” hurt later in life.
I sat for a few seconds after they had finished protesting their annoyance and said, “Are you ready to hear my evaluation of what is going on?” They both consented by nodding their heads. “There is a lack of clarity as to what you as parents expect.” The father leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. I imagine he only expected me to address his son, but I was looking directly at him when I said it.
Continuing to look at the dad I said, “Since your adult son is choosing to live under your financial assistance, you get to choose how your son behaves while he is in your home.” I went on to advise the parents to make a clear written contract detailing the services each party will commit to performing. I told them to treat their adult son’s living arrangement like a business partnership where contractual services are agreed to and consequences are outlined in the case of a breach. The mother said at the end of me speaking, “This sounds great, but I am afraid my son will not do what we ask of him and then we will have to kick him out of the house.” I could tell the concern in her voice so I leaned in and looked her directly in the eyes and said, “No mom, it will not be you ‘kicking’ him out, but rather it will be your son choosing to leave.”
Clarity is often tough to come by but when you have it a sense of peace overcomes you. Are you frustrated today because you are unclear of what is expected of you? Do you feel uneasy because your weekly schedule is unclear? Do you feel unorganized because you do not have clear goals for your life?
Make an effort this week to clarify what is causing you to feel frustrated or uneasy. Although you may not like the details of what you discover, at least you can then begin the process of accepting reality.