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Ministering to parents

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Karen and I have been in Chicago this week launching 240 racers. And while it's been an exciting week with the racers, for me one of the highlights was the time we got to spend with the many parents who showed up to send their kids off. In the past, we haven't done the best job of this. …
By Seth Barnes

Karen and I have been in Chicago this week launching 240 racers. And while it's been an exciting week with the racers, for me one of the highlights was the time we got to spend with the many parents who showed up to send their kids off.

In the past, we haven't done the best job of this. Wanting to help our racers learn self-governance, we've not invited parents to be a part of the process. I was never comfortable with this policy, but it's what we did.

This year, we decided to take a risk and involve parents more. For a while I've felt the Lord's call to reach out to them and help them to understand the process that their son or daughter was going through.

Parents want the best for their children. They want them to learn how to self-govern. They want them to walk in their destiny.

But releasing their kids is hard. They need encouragement in the process. So we've reached out. We connected the parents to one another. They encouraged one another. I spoke to them about my journey and about how our kids have gone on their own journey.

And in the midst of that, something magical happened. God showed up. They were already in a very tender place. Yesterday they hugged their kids goodbye. There were tears – it was heart-wrenching.

When I spoke to them, I said, "Yes, your kids are going on a journey. But so are you. This year can be transformative, not just for them, but for you as well. Your life is not over. There's more. God has so much more for each of you."

What does that look like? I think it starts with questions: "God, what is my purpose on this earth? How do you want to use my child's journey to change the way I view the world?"

And after 11 months have passed and their kids have changed and are returning, the possibilities for shifting parent-child relationships are great. There may be issues of forgiveness, or just a debrief of one's experience growing up in the family. That debrief can be huge. It can be wonderfully therapeutic and life-giving. It can liberate us to appreciate one another more.

All of us as we enter our 20's need a re-set with our parents. We're adults relating to adults, but it's hard to shake some of those broken patterns that we may have experienced growing up. As sons and daughters, we need our parents' blessing. As moms and dads, we need to give it. It almost doesn't matter who initiates it – it just needs to happen.

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