As You know I’m not a praying man, and I haven’t talked to You much in my life. But I’m sure You’ve noticed that the frequency of my prayers has increased ever since I became a father. First it was that time when the Wife’s contractions suddenly started and the Boy had several months left to go. After the minutes stretched like hours they eventually quieted. Next it was for the birth of a healthy boy and the safety of his mother, and You delivered on both. In the months that followed I worried about the silence between each of his breaths while he was asleep. Would another breath follow? They inevitably did. I’m not sure if I ever thanked You for all of that. I hope I did but honestly it wouldn’t surprise me if in my know-everything self-centeredness that pervaded my life at the age of 30 I didn’t.
Over the years things kind of dried up as the infant grew into a toddler who then grew into a little boy. I kind of took You for granted at that point, and it wasn’t until the boy turned into a Kid and started driving that the stream of prayers began again.
I know I thanked You the time the Kid was an hour late coming home and wasn’t answering my increasingly frantic calls and texts. “Sorry, I needed to help a friend and my phone died,” he said in the eventual call came. I was too relieved to be angry. Now every time he leaves You hear me asking for you to return him safely home, and every time he does You get a note of thanks. I guess at the half-century mark I realize I don’t know everything after all, and I’m willing to give You a shot if it helps protect the health and safety of my son.
I regret that things have kind of been one way on my part. I’m not sure it counts but I do try to make Your world a better place. I try to treat people with kindness even at the times its hard, and I try to live an honorable life. I’m not perfect as You know, but I hope that as I grow older and more humble I will do You proud.
In the meantime, I need to ask a special favor from You. I hope You don’t mind.
My son is 19, and as You know he thinks he knows everything, everything that is except what he wants to do with his life. This is my fault. I’ve told him that he can do whatever he wants in this Life, but in his mind he has rebelled against my belief with one of his own, the exact opposite. He’s 19 and thinks he can’t do anything.
Part of this is his being overwhelmed by choice. He’s lived in a prosperity that the vast majority of people could only dream of, and I spoiled him instead of allowing him to experience scarcity and poverty that drove me to find a better job and better myself and my family. Another part is laziness. Anything worth doing takes effort but I have failed in teaching him a work ethic even though both of his parents have one. Finally both of his parents are brooders, and it appears we’ve passed this trait onto our son. We’ve both been in the place our son find himself in, but our influence has been waning in his life for a very long time.
Could You give him a direction? Could you help him find the spark that will ignite his passion and launch him into adulthood? I don’t care what that passion is as long as its honorable and makes him happy in the end.
I’ll admit I’m selfish. I want him to be better than me in all ways. I want him to be taller, more handsome, richer, and yes happier. But at this time he’s tormented, putting up barriers to his own success in a way that I just don’t know how to destroy or get him to stop doing. He crafts these barriers out of his own ignorance and fears, bases them on his innate laziness. Talking to him is the conversational equivalent of a dog chasing his tail. Every possibility has a down-side, every plus a minus that nets either a zero or negative. It’s painful to watch and exhausting to listen to.
I’ve told him everything I can think of, that the choices he needs to make where to go in life won’t be permanent and likely won’t even lead him where he expects. I’ve begged him to see that he’s no fortuneteller. He can’t know what his life will be like 3 or 4 months down the line let alone 3 or 4 years. But he needs to move, that a man is like a shark, always needing to be exploring, learning and providing or he will die.
Lord, I need You to help motivate my child. Help me get him doing something, anything that will stop the brooding that he’s been doing. I’m tired of hearing “I don’t want,” or “I don’t like,” but what hurts me and worries me the most is when he says, “I cant.” You’ve given me a healthy son with all his faculties, yet he’s wasting what You’ve given him, what his mother and I have worked so hard to give him.
I don’t expect You to do everything for me. In his teens I gave him driving tips when I was driving him the car, and was a good driver by example. I taught him the basics then sent him to driver’s ed and a special program that helps teens become better drivers. Then I gave him a better, safer car than either one of his parents owned, buying with money features such as electronic stability control and side airbags that we substitute our driving experience for. If there’s a quid for Your quo pro, I’m all ears.
But I can’t give him a direction. I can’t buy him passion. I need Your help with that.
So what do You say? Can You give a fellow Father a helping hand here?