Dependence and Independence

A recent article in New York Times Magazine addresses the issue of the way in which young people move toward adulthood, explaining that it is taking longer than in previous generations.  The author of the article, Robin Henig states: The traditional cycle seems to have gone off course, as young people remain un­tethered to romantic partners or to permanent homes, going back to school for lack of better options, traveling, avoiding commitments, competing ferociously for unpaid internships or temporary (and often grueling) Teach for America jobs, forestalling the beginning of adult life.

Why are so many young people postponing adulthood?

Among other social and economic issues, the article also mentions the impact of “helicopter parents.”  These are defined as those parents who are content with their children remaining attached and dependent on them in some form or another.

As a parent, are you promoting and instilling independence or dependence in your child, or both?

You may be wondering how you can instill two opposing characteristics at the same time. Since God desires His children to be ever moving toward complete dependence on Him, children need to be in a constant process of becoming independent of parents. Therefore, parents who are training their children in godliness will consistently promote independence from themselves, while instilling dependence on Christ. Parents who fail to promote independence will most likely forestall acceptance of adult responsibilities in their children. However, parents who promote independence from themselves, coupled with dependence on Christ, will lead their children to live productive and effective lives in Jesus.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that a child will leave home or marry earlier in life, but it does mean that a child will move and act according to God’s timetable rather than that of his own or his parents’. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” A parent who encourages his child to live according to God’s plans, rather than his own, lives with less regret as he entrusts his child to God’s perfect will.