When a child makes choices that lead them from the path of righteousness, it’s easy for a parent to become worried, fearful, upset, and controlling. We want the very best for our child—and we want it RIGHT NOW!
We want to protect our child from the all the evils of this world but it becomes very difficult to do that when the child chooses to embrace some of those evils.
Where do we draw the line? What do we do? How do we correct and guide?
We follow the example of God. Consider for a moment. Does God condone evil? Does God tempt a person to do evil? No, He doesn’t. He encourages goodness and righteousness.
But when evil happens, does God go into hysterics? Does God “lose” it and attack the evil-doer (or evil-participator)? What does God do in the face of evil—in the face of the reality that He must uphold the principle of agency and allow His children to choose evil and experience its consequences?
He goes on doing good, believing in good, being good. And so should we. He goes on having faith that truth and goodness will eventually prevail. Prevail where? In His children’s hearts.
How could He be sure of that? Because He knows each of us better than we know ourselves. He knows that for the vast majority of us, we will eventually discover that evil (wickedness, living life without God as an active partner and participant) will never be happiness (Alma 41:10).
He knows that evil will not triumph. He knows that He can find us whenever we, as wayward, wandering, doubting, rebellious children, finally come to ourselves and choose to come home to our Father’s house.
And so He leaves us alone to learn by our own experience, the good from the bad.
Learning to detach from our child’s choices takes a great deal of prayer—both for them and prayer for ourselves. It takes a great deal of pondering over the words of the prophets—ancient and modern. And it takes listening with your heart and waiting upon the witness of the Lord that these things are true.
Dearly Beloved Fellow Parents, Let us do all that lies within our power with a cheerful heart, and when we can’t be cheerful any longer, let us be still and allow the Lord to work. (D&C 123:17)
- The Race of Life – Thomas S. Monson (April 2012)
- Love and Law – Dallin H. Oaks (October 2009)
- Dear Are the Sheep that Have Wandered — James E. Faust (April 2003)
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