Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Luke 2:41-50
I love this story. Mary and Joseph lost the Savior. That’s ironic! Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. At 12 years old, He was lost.
I often panic when I can’t spot my kids on the playground. I can’t imagine losing one for a couple of days. But, that’s exactly what Jesus’ parents did. They lost the most significant child to ever be born.
Now, Jesus’ parents weren’t being neglectful. They were probably traveling with a large group of people. And, there were probably other boys named Jesus in the group. It was an honest mistake.
All parents make mistakes. And, their parents also made mistakes. We can trace parenting mistakes all of the way back to Adam and Eve in the Garden. I don’t offer this as an excuse. We can all do better. But, when we start out as parents, we don’t start as a blank slate. We had parents, and fortunately or unfortunately, that is our default.
So let’s say that as a father you have difficulty connecting with your son. When you look back at your childhood, you see that your father had difficulty connecting with you. And, your grandfather had difficulty connecting with your father when he was a boy. By default, this pattern will continue on and on. But, it doesn’t have to.
If by example or makeup or excuse, you cannot connect with your son, then you choose to find what your son is interested in and make a regular effort to connect with him. As unnatural as this might seem at first, over time you make regular connections with your son. With God’s help, that pattern is broken and your grandson will already have a better life than you did.
You can apply that example in a thousand different ways. You can work hard as a parent. You can learn the techniques and study Scripture, but the bottom line is that sooner or later all parents blow it. What do you do? You ask your child to forgive you. You say, “You know what you were doing made me angry and I said some things that I shouldn’t have. I need to ask you to forgive me.” Then, you need to work on your anger.
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It’s a tough job, but it is so worthwhile. Brookwood Church has many great parenting resources including Parents Small Groups, BrookwoodU classes, Sunday message series, and many other resources. I would encourage you to find a group or a class. Maybe even find another parent who is a little further down the road than you are. Lastly, pray for your Heavenly Father to give you insight into your children and wisdom for what to do. He gives freely to those who ask.