Our son starts university in a few days. I struggle to describe the potpourri of feelings that blossom within me when I consider this fact. For one thing, I am very proud of what he has accomplished to reach this landmark; then, I am concerned about how he will navigate this change of course. Will he flourish in this new stage of (online) learning or be frustrated and overcome by the workload and lowered level of accountability? How can I, his father, guide him through this? So much has changed in the twenty-plus years since I graduated from university. The rapid changes occurring since the onset of the pandemic alone make my head spin. I fear that my counsel lacks context. Here, as in other areas, I am out of touch, behind the times.
Ephesians 6:4 reads, “Fathers (parents), do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” When I read that, I ask myself just how much wise instruction I have provided when more often these days, I seem to provoke or frustrate him with my constant worry and criticism. New parents, if I can offer one piece of advice, never stop praying for your kids. The world your teenager lives in is vastly different than the one you occupied.
Knowing this, I have done my best to be more observant and less critical of how my boy carries himself. Do I approve of everything he does and says? No, but where possible, I try to understand his actions through his eyes.
Yesterday, my son and I went golfing with a close family friend. The second time in two years, this group of three played together. My son started playing golf last summer; he is still new to the game, and last year’s experience was far from stellar. Truthfully, it was frustrating on different levels for all three of us. This time, however, we saw not only an improvement in how my son played but how he handled disappointment and the many unpleasantries the game of golf provides. This is an example of how he is maturing and adapting to adulthood. Add hope to my blossoming potpourri of feelings.
As we move into fall and the MBH Herald Digest crests its first year in this new format, I am hopeful that it too will adapt to meet the needs of the MB family. On pages 4 and 5, you’ll see that we have teamed up with a group of Anabaptist denominations and schools to learn more about our respective families. I hope to dig a little deeper in the future, surveying readers on how this publication can be more effective and enjoyable for you. You don’t have to wait for the survey; feel free to email me with suggestions anytime.
We’ve added a couple of new voices to our roster of contributors. Look for pieces by Chris Walker (cover story, page 10) and Andrew Dyck (The highways of Zion, page 13) in this issue. On page 14, Phil Gunther offers an article on the pursuit of Godly wisdom—something of which this anxious father often lacks.
Thank you for your ongoing support of MB Herald Digest; I welcome your thoughts and feedback.