The Day I Stopped Parenting

My family orientation bred me towards micro-management. Ironic as it was, my parents never shackled me with restrictions. They were quite liberal in approach. Somehow, I envied those who had more fixed points to deal with. I was granted lots of freedom on stuff that I was not quite competent to handle.

Thus grew my subconscious resolve to take the opposite route when my turn came.

I was parenting my first-born with tentacles, to say the least. I thought I had it all figured out. If only I could shape her according to my perceived competence, then all shall be well.

I silently languished my growing suspicion that my style was simply not working. My daughter would feign obedience but swim from Alcatraz the next beat.

I remember tucking her for little naps, only to discover that she'd wiggle undetected to a blissful play where the sun shone with glee. I had come to realize that my rearing mode was more of a combination of the Dark Ages and Holy Guess.

I was granted Divine Grace out of this mess.

I stumbled upon the true but audacious claim that we do have only One parent. All of us are wobbly kids. As such, learning must take on a fundamental necessity.

"Train up a child in the way that he should go ..." 

That route is the road less traveled. 

It calls for a true friendship that gains its access only through sanctions of genuine concern for the other.

I remember this conversation just like it took place yesterday:

Nika: (in tears) Dad: Can you please stop being a pastor to me? What I just need is a friend.
Me: (irritated) What do you mean? How can I stop being a pastor, I am a pastor ...
Nika: You don't get it, Dad ... All I need is you to be my friend ...

It took seasons of wrestling with my ex-cathedra pride before I finally got this message.

That was the day I stopped parenting and switched to loving.