You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Exodus 19:4 NLT
A mother hen had nothing on Sadie.
Sadie was a hoverer. I knew her from church and watched her hover—over the piano, over people, and over her two children.
Instead of letting her teenage son sit with the other young people, Sadie made him sit on the front row—the row she sat on. Until the day he graduated from high school and left for college, he idled on the front row while Sadie hovered over him. By the time their daughter reached her teenage years, Sadie had relaxed her hovering—but just by a little. Perhaps seeing her son rebel against religion and God during his college years explained the small amount of leniency that crept into Sadie’s parenting of her daughter. Occasionally, she’d let her sit with the other young folks, but not often. Most of the time, she—like her brother, sat on the front row by Sadie.
Sadie’s hovering didn’t keep her children from rebelling, but at least she had the assurance that she’d done her best. Neither did God’s hovering keep His children from rebelling. No sooner than He had delivered them from Egyptian slavery than they rebelled against everything He had taught them.
My parents hovered over me as Sadie’s did. Their hovering didn’t prevent my rebellious behavior. I thought I knew best. I needed to spread my wings and fly—to sow my wild oats. Neither did my hovering keep my children from rebellious acts. They, too, needed to fly on their own.
What children do once they leave the nest is beyond a parent’s control. The fact that they might—and probably will, rebel doesn’t alleviate a parent’s responsibility to hover. God does, and we should too—but with caution and wisdom.
Hovering entails unconditional love. God has it, and all parents should as well. Parents should teach their children God’s rules and principles, but we must also love them whether they obey or not. A component of unconditional love is discipline. God does it when His children go astray—and parents should too. Like parents, I’ve watched hens, ducks, and geese scold their young when they wandered away, but they also worked diligently to bring them back.
Hover lovingly over your children. As a parent, God gave you that responsibility. And believe it or not, your children will eventually appreciate it.
Prayer: Father, help us as parents bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of Your commands as we love them unconditionally.
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