Sunday, October 19, 2008
Backpacks and Boulders
I am taking part in a co-ed recovery type of group that my church offers on Monday nights. We are using Cloud and Townsend’s classic book, “Boundaries” along with a workbook. As I have begun to work through the principles of the book I have gotten a hold of a concept I like to call, “Backpacks And Boulders.” As adults, each of us have our “backpack” to carry, our normal daily responsibility to our spouse if we are married, to our children and to our employer and others we are in relationship with. That is being responsible for what is for us to do. Throughout life we also come against situations that I would call “boulders.” These are weights are too crushing to bear alone but we can bear them with the help of others.
As my children move into young adulthood it is my job to teach them how to carry their backpack alone. If I treat their backpack as a boulder I am hindering their development and growth into the mature adult they are designed to be. On the other hand, if I look at their boulders as mere backpacks I am not demonstrating to them my willingness to be one of their supports on their life journey.
2008 and beyond is a tough time to be growing into young adulthood. Our children are called to walk through a vocational maze with more choices than we ever would have considered. The economy is currently in a “wait and see” mode. With the multi-generational effects of family breakdown, the search for a lifetime partner is a risky notion. This makes for some heavy backpacks. Given these circumstances there is something in me that wants to shield them from the harsh realities they are facing. But to do this would be an attempt to carry their backpack and that would be harmful rather than helpful.
I know I will be given opportunities to help them with their boulders for as long as I live. For me this often will mean giving them the gift of my time and of a listening ear. They will have to process their fears, anxieties and confusion without me giving my advice and without me trying to “fix” them. I can also assure them that I am praying for them. By doing that I am bringing One into the picture who really can help them more than any other to successfully carry the boulders they will be called upon to carry from time to time.