the words of tim walker

final exam

i’ve had my share of neurotic moments in parenting, but i was never one of those parents who felt like my kid was missing out on something.

there wasn’t the one preschool that we had to have my son enrolled in.
there wasn’t the one team he had to be on.
there wasn’t the one school he had to attend.

i was fine with however those things turned out. i trusted that God could shape and mold my oldest son wherever he was. i believed that God had his best in mind.

but lately, i seem to have forgotten that.

my son is a senior and will graduate in a few short months.
but lately, everywhere i turn seems to feed me one message:
you’ve failed.

my son is an incredible person.
to his friends, he’s loyal and supportive.
he’s a great big brother.
he is compassionate and smart.
but he also is growing and learning.
he has flaws. i’m not blind to them. (so does his dad.)
and i’m incredibly proud of who he is.

but there is a whirlwind of emotion that i seem to be caught in.
i see posts from other parents of their kids being accepted into big schools we can’t afford and think, “we’ve failed to give our son options.” even though we haven’t lived with a lot of excess for the past 18 years.
or i hear stories of things i should be doing.
or shouldn’t be doing.
how i should parent.
how i should let go.

i feel like i’m about to be graded. like it’s a final exam. and how successful my son is, what kind of man he becomes, how he lives out his faith—all of it will be part of my final grade.

and when i start comparing what our life looks like to others, i feel like we haven’t done enough.
were there moments along the way when i made a choice to do “less”? not really.
my wife and i aren’t perfect parents, and there are things we would have done differently, but we’ve always tried to make the best decisions and be intentional.

but there’s something about this season of parenting that is really messing with my head and my heart.
so every parenting blog post i read feeds my sense of inadequacy.
every achievement of someone else makes me feel less than.

and in the process, i have to fight for the “what is.”
the reality of who we are. who my son is. where we are now. what options are available.
i have to trust that the same God who has guided us over the past 18 years is still at work.
that we will seek Him and make the best decisions we can today.
that He will provide what we need when we need it.

and that this point in time isn’t about a “parenting” final grade. it never was. it’s about taking care of a young man whom God entrusted to us 18 years ago, and continuing to guide, direct and support him.

even if it looks different than someone else.



the contents on this site are ©2015 tim walker. all rights reserved. for permission to reprint or publish this content elsewhere, please contact me through this blog. (i usually say “yes.”)

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2 thoughts on “final exam

  1. Great entry…I too have a recently graduated son…not doing so hot in his first semester of college. I also have a 16yo working on his prodigal son resume. At my weakest, I want to bang my head on the wall screaming “where did I go wrong!??”

    They’ve been raised in the church, by two level headed, responsible, loving, parents who both love God.

    I continue to go back God…rest in the faith that he chose me to be their mother. I’m the one with the love for God and the loving skill set to guide them through these turbulent days. Besides, I’ve never been more dependent on God than through parenthood… I’m right where he wants me ?

    Grace and love… Donna Matthews

    1. thanks, Donna. and i completely agree with your statement, “i’ve never been more dependent on God than through parenthood.” my prayer life has definitely increased as my sons get older.

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