Letters To My Students – 7

NUMBER SEVEN: When Parents Say No

Dear Students,

I know there are times when your parents say no. You ask to get something, or permission to do something, and for whatever reason, they say no. It’s tough. You find yourself frustrated, questioning them, irritated that you don’t get to do whatever, and you’re tempted to do it anyway. I get it. This is a tough spot because you want your freedom to do it, but you still live under their roof and depend on them. And you know it: you need their cash, the bed they provide for you, the food they provide for you, the school pencils and pens and notebooks they provide for you, and maybe even the gas they provide in the car they let you use. Hey, it’s a good thing that you depend on them! It’s just your stage of life. I realize some of you may not depend on your parents so much for stuff anymore. You live in your own apartment, drive and gas your own car, feed and clothe yourself, etc. But, even in independence, you are still left with the dilemma that your parents sometimes will say no, and somehow you have to respond to them.

Let me encourage you to respond by trusting your parents. Hey, seriously, hear me out before you stop reading. I know, I know, sometimes they just don’t see it the way you do. But listen, they actually have lived a lot of life. They see things from a different angle that you see, potentially drawing on some really valuable wisdom gained from their own experiences. Honestly, sometimes it may be fear that leads them to say no. But who can blame them? Parenting is scary. Imagine the weight of responsibility that rests on your parents’ shoulders to raise children for twenty years, hoping they do it well enough that their kids, first of all make it through alive, and then become responsible adults who are ready to be on their own. Parenting is scary, you just have to trust me on that one. And guys, their “no” might also just be because they know you really well, and they believe, for whatever reason, that “this” might not be good for you and your personality. In the middle of many things in life often we don’t see clearly. We become jaded by our own desires and sometimes we just need to trust somebody else’s wisdom and go with it. And let me say, regardless of the quality of your relationship with your parents, deep down 99.99% of parents truly desire the best for their children, even if they struggle to show it sometimes, or quite often. So trust them.

I’m not going to bog you down with a load of Scripture, but the reality is, that is exactly what the book of Proverbs is all about: a father and mother passing down wisdom gained through experience, onto their son. (See Proverbs 1:1-9; and while you’re at it, check out Ephesians 6:1-4.) There is wisdom gained from living life, and we need to trust that wisdom. You need to trust your parents who have gone before you and desire to guide you as best they can.

But there’s also something else to consider: that you honor God when you respect and obey your parents, especially in the shadow of their “no”. Not in begrudging or resentful obedience, complaining about it all they way to the end. Loving your parents and honoring them the way God desires means you humbly listen to their wisdom, accept the fact that they are your God-given parents, and you obey them, and trust them. Isn’t this what God, your heavenly Father, desires from you as well? He longs for you to honor him with willing obedience. He actually cares about your choices and how you live, and he especially desires for you to trust in his grace, and believe in his Son, Jesus, who is his greatest living gift of love for you, and in turn love others as best you can.

So, let me encourage you to just “go with it” when your parents say no. Fight the temptations to rebel, and instead, leap into trusting them. Hey, they may be wrong with their “no”, and you might end up being justified in the end. But your first and pure call from God is to trust and obey them. So do it.

Love your parents. Trust them. Accept their decision, and then move forward. You will honor them and God, and you will have peace in your relationships.

I love you guys. More later.